Restaurant helps family in need

 
 

Messenger photo by Megan Edwards

A hand-made collection jar sits on the counter near the cash register at Minelli’s Restaurant and Pizza on Sullivant Avenue. Collections are for the family of Corinthia “Carriy” Clayton-Blair, a Hilltop resident killed by a neighbor.

It may be small in comparison to the two other towering donation containers on the counter of Minelli’s Restaurant and Pizza on Sullivant Avenue, but one little donation container, with its hand-carved hole on the lid, and hand-written message in blue ink, holds generous gestures from patrons for Corinthia “Carriy” Clayton-Blair’s family.

Clayton-Blair, 29, died last week at Mount Carmel West Hospital after she was removed from life support. The Hilltop woman had been allegedly shot during a neighborhood dispute July 27 by Michael Meadows, who lived up the street. Meadows eventually took his own life hours later, according to police reports.

Some patrons have only been able to contribute spare change, said employee Kristy Montgomery. Others have given more generously.

“People have given what they can,” Montgomery said.

Employees at the restaurant learned of the shooting after Clayton-Blair’s sister-in-law, Cordelia Blair, called Sunday evening.

The next day, restaurant employees decided to help the family, which includes Rodney, 10; Zachary, 8; Corinthia “C.J.”, 5; and Aleyna, 1, as well as husband, Rodney Blair. The family could not be reached for comment.

“We said, ‘let’s put a donation cup on the counter’,” Montgomery said. “It’s for the kids. At least they won’t have to worry about anything.”

In just one week, patrons and visitors donated more than $200, according to Montgomery. To ensure patrons knew the cause was legit, employees taped articles about Clayton-Blair’s death onto the counter next to the donation container.

“We were hoping people would give,” Montgomery said. “And a lot of people’s hearts went out to the family.”

Besides helping with funeral expenses, donations will go toward the family for food, school clothes and expenses with moving to a new home, Montgomery said.

Clayton-Blair and her family didn’t frequent the store, but the repeat customers of Minelli’s knew of the tragedy and have wanted to help. Many repeat customers who know Blair also wanted to show their support for the entire family.

Montgomery, who has worked at Minelli’s for two years, is proud of the support patrons have given Clayton-Blair’s family.

“It’s really nice to see everyone so generous,” she said. “This was a terrible thing, a terrible tragedy … nonsense. We will do whatever we can to help the family.”

Sondra Milvy patronizes Minelli’s with friends at least once a week. While she paid for her latest meal, she and her friend and Montgomery spoke of the tragedy.

Montgomery seized the opportunity to inform the two ladies of the donation collection.

Milvy, shoving bills into the collection container, shook her head and said she donated because Clayton-Blair was such a young and beautiful mother.

“I’m a mother and I have five children of my own,” Milvy said. “I can’t imagine.”

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