CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - “Helping your neighbor;” that’s the motto for Mario Innocenzi.
Innocenzi is the owner of Mario’s Barbershop in Parma. He’s starting a fundraiser for residents impacted by Hurricane Dorian.
But this isn’t the first time he’s put something like this together. He knows firsthand how a hurricane can leave an area in ruins.
In 2004, while living in Florida, Innocenzi experienced the full force of Hurricane Charley.
“Charley came through and you think, being from Northeast Ohio, it’s just another storm,” said Innocenzi. “Two more hurricanes came right through and we went to a shelter the next time and then we came home and had enough.”
His inspiration to give back came in 2016.
During a trip in Gatlinburg, Tenn., he saw the impacts of wildfires that devastated that area.
“It was Christmas Time and we took a 24-foot box truck full of toys from people right here in the area. And we took it down there and dropped it off,” added Innocenzi.
A year later, an even bigger call to action: Helping victims impacted by Hurricane Harvey in Houston.
Innocenzi said, “One truck turned into seven, 24-foot box trucks and two 53-foot containers. About two-and-a-half million dollars worth of goods went out of this barbershop.”
And because of the response, Innocenzi says other businesses in the area have joined in the fundraising efforts for Hurricane Dorian.
“Everyone drops and we bring it here. We converge, we stack, we sort and we ship it. And when I say ‘we’ ship it, we physically drive it down there. We load them into trucks, with all of our volunteers.”
Innocenzi said all monetary donations are accepted from his GoFundMe.
All food items, household items and personal items are accepted. No WATER! Innocenzi says water adds additional weight on the trucks, which could add to cost during transport to the Southeast.