Aug 1, 2010
Saving our shore, a T-shirt at a timeBy Casandra

Dauphin Island, Alabama — Once the oil spill began, Mack and Joy Russell, owners of the gift shop mack-n-dd’s Emporium, watched their sales receipts drop drastically. And their beach house here, typically rented throughout the summer, was mostly sitting empty.

Looking for ways to bring the crowds back and help those harmed by the spill, Joy Russell scoured the Internet and found Something there caught her eye: a shirt declaring “Save Our Gumbo.”

Soon, she discovered that friend Rosie McGowin, who grew up on Dauphin Island, was helping SOS founder Amanda Bacon by delivering T-shirts and other SOS items to benefit local charitable and restoration efforts.

Within days, McGowin brought over ball caps, T-shirts and aprons to Russell, who stocked her store and carried more of the stuff to her church, St. Francis Episcopal, to sell after Sunday services.

The response, she said, was enthusiastic.

“I think the artwork attracts them. When they find out what it is for, people seem to really respond,” Russell said.

On that Sunday a month ago, members at St. Francis made purchases that raised $500 for Save Our Shores. Today, Russell and others plan another sale at the church, with shirts, aprons and hats priced at $20 each.

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