December 14, 2018 | Distribution Notice
Winn-Dixie has partnered with Feeding The Gulf Coast to distribute fresh produce and SE Grocers shelf-stable products during a community mobile pantry event on Saturday, Dec. 15, from 9 a.m. – noon in the parking lot of the Panama City Winn-Dixie, located at 3621 US 231 North, Panama City, FL 32404.
December 12, 2018 | Thank You
Over the past two months our work has been strengthened by many incredible and generous individuals. Thank you to the many donors, volunteers, and Feeding America member food banks who allowed members of their staff to assist our efforts to help those in their most critical hour of need. Words will not be enough to express the amount of gratitude we hold for our friends who heard our cry of help.
Jay Vise with Second Harvest Food Bank in New Orleans compiled this video of testimonies while he worked on the ground with us in Panama City.
December 8, 2019 | On the Ground Report: Tayler Morgan
This trip marked my second time going to Panama City since Hurricane Michael hit. I spent a week there shortly after the storm, helping with our distribution site. This time I was anticipating there to be progress. I was naïve to not expect there to still be trees on the roads or power lines down, but I was wrong. The city was still painted with blue roofs and debris scattered everywhere. I quickly realized that this city, and the surrounding areas, are far from being normal.
I had the privilege to talk with a volunteer, Ericha, who rode out the storm. She expressed the desperation for normalcy that is surrounding her community and how they feel forgotten about. Many schools are still closed, and will be for the foreseeable future. So schools have combined and take turns using the buildings. Ericha was fortunate enough to not lose her home, but many of her coworkers were not as lucky. She said the wait to even have a roof repaired is months. Even if the wait wasn’t long, no one can afford to fix their home or rent a temporary place because prices have doubled, if not tripled. On top of all of this stress, they still have to worry about food and feeding their families. It’s a lot.
Despite all of this, she was grateful for the opportunity to volunteer with us and to help serve those who weren’t as fortunate. During the 3-day distribution, I lost count of the number of happy faces I saw when they realized how much food they would receive. Along with shelf stable items, we handed out fresh produce, frozen chicken, and baked goods. We had a cake with “Happy Birthday” written on it, and we randomly gave it to a woman. When she saw it, her eyes filled with tears. I asked if everything was okay and she replied, “today is my birthday.” We all gathered around her and hugged on her and wished her a happy birthday. This was just one of many joyous moments we experienced.
Walking away from this experience humbled me. It has been 2 months since Hurricane Michael hit this community and they are still looking at months, if not years, of recovery ahead of them. Despite this, they were incredibly thankful and were only looking forward. Ericha said, “the community has been strong. Neighbors have been great. People helping each other has been awesome. We are trying to make the best out of it, that’s for sure, and trying to help each other. I’m proud to live here and knowing how everybody has really gotten together and making a difference out of something so terrible, or trying to find the silver lining.”
I am proud to be part of an organization who is committed to these people and to serve them. We are not going anywhere, Florida.
December 6-8, 2018 | Distribution Notice
If you are in need of recovery assistance, please make plans to attend the following distribution hosted by the Office of US Senator Marco Rubio.
November 19, 2018 | Impact Update
Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, a time for food, family, and the comforts of home. For the tens of thousands of Hurricane Michael survivors still struggling with meeting basic needs, Thanksgiving is another week of uncertainty and hardship.
To date, Feeding the Gulf Coast has distributed over 1.7 million meals and snacks, as well as more than 1.4 million bottles of water in Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson and Washington counties, going beyond our normal service area to serve those communities who need our help. Their testimonies, like Donna’s, are absolutely tragic, and they reinforce our commitment to get aid to those in need, as well as our gratitude for your support, which enables us to serve.
Donna has been a massage therapist for 17 years. She’s always had a job. But after Hurricane Michael tore through Panama City and damaged the clinic she works at, she faced an unfamiliar situation. “The clinic was damaged during the storm,” she said. “They plan to reopen, but no one is sure when that will be. It could be months.”
Donna has already been without an income for nearly a month, and that’s been hard because she supports herself and her 13-year-old son, Nathan. She’s been told the clinic hopes to reopen in a few months, but it could be longer. “Life has been chaos since the storm,” she said. “Right after the storm, I wasn’t sure about anything…least of all food.”
With no job and no income after the storm, Donna knew she needed a little help. So she turned to St. Dominic Catholic Church, a partner agency working with Feeding the Gulf Coast. “The food we’ve gotten has been an absolute blessing,” Donna said. “I don’t know what we would have done without it. Since I’m out of work, there’s just not enough money for food.”
- Water Distributed: 1,481,331 bottles
- MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) Distributed: 543,379
- Snack Items Distributed: 637,077
- Disaster Boxes Distributed: 233,116
- Additional Meals Distributed: 225,586
- Produce Distributed: 130,683 pieces of fresh produce
- Volunteers Engaged: 300+
To support our disaster relief efforts for those impacted by Hurricane Michael, please click here.
November 15, 2018 | In the News: New York Times-After 2 Terrible Storms, ‘The Food Bank Came to Our Rescue’ By John Otis, Natalie Pita and Kalyn Wolfe
Local food pantries supported by Feeding America were among the first to provide aid after Hurricanes Florence and Michael, and they’ll keep feeding victims for many months to come.
In the weeks since Hurricane Michael pounded the Gulf Coast, power and water service have returned to Tim and Ramona Moseley’s neighborhood in Panama City, Fla. But the recovery of their communities, which were struck by powerful storms that claimed dozens of lives in September and October, is a continuing process.
“Right now, it does weigh on you,” said Mr. Moseley, 51. “When you wake up, it’s still there, and it will hit you in the face again.”
In Panama City, the wreckage from Michael still looks fresh. Rows of sundered pine trees still sit atop buildings. The storm ripped shops and restaurants in half, twisting their metal roofing; light fixtures dangle lifelessly by a single wire. Only debris piles remain where many homes once stood.
The Moseleys were lucky — their home remained standing — but they and their neighbors were without power or water for nearly two weeks after the storm. They had chosen not to evacuate, a tradition of audaciousness going back to 1979, said Ms. Moseley, 48.
“My dad stayed on the patio for Frederic,” she said. “I stayed in the garage for Ivan. We made it through.”
Large white tents continue to dot the landscape around their community, alongside trailers and moving trucks full of food and supplies. These are a result of various nonprofit efforts, including Feeding the Gulf Coast, a member of Feeding America that serves 24 counties.
[“There’s a lot of people that think everything can get back to normal in a few weeks,” said Haley Buchanan, media and events coordinator at Feeding the Gulf Coast. “It doesn’t work like that. These people’s lives have been changed forever. We’re planning on serving the area for as long as is needed.”]
Feeding the Gulf Coast has distributed more than 1.3 million meals and 1.4 million bottles of water to Bay County, Fla., and surrounding areas since Hurricane Michael.
Jackie Jackson, 56, is among those grateful for the help. She and her 8-year-old granddaughter did not have time to flee their Panama City home before the storm hit.
Read full article on New York Times, here.
November 7, 2018 | Impact Update
- Water Distributed: 1,423,960 bottles
- MREs Distributed: 541,631
- Snack Items Distributed: 476,090
- Disaster Boxes Distributed: 181,238
- Additional Meals Distributed: 60,029
- Produce Distributed: 60,696 pieces of fresh produce
- Volunteers Engaged: 300+
Today marks one month since Hurricane Michael devastated much of our Eastern Florida service area. Communities that were already home to thousands of individuals facing hunger were further cut off from available resources. In response, Feeding the Gulf Coast has distributed over 1.3 million meals and snacks, as well as more than 1.4 million bottles of water in Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson and Washington counties, going beyond our normal service area to serve those communities who need our help.
November 4, 2018 | On the Ground Report: Cindy Bloom
This Wednesday will be 4 weeks since Hurricane Michael hit land. Please don’t forget all those still struggling in the central Florida Panhandle in the wake of that storm. I spent another week over there and saw so much destruction but also so much uplifting expressions of humanity. Thank you to everyone supporting the survivors on their long road back to “normalcy.” A special thanks to all you who have donated and lended support to Feeding the Gulf Coast disaster relief efforts-especially to the great folks who came in from other Feeding America food banks and home office. One of the benefits of being a Feeding America food bank is that we have 199 sister food banks and national staff who can support us in times of need. We are lucky to have your support for our people when we need it most. Thank you.
November 1, 2018 | Impact Update
- Water Distributed: 1,389,960 bottles
- MREs Distributed: 541,631
- Snack Items Distributed: 352,815
- Disaster Boxes Distributed: 97,030
- Additional Meals Distributed: 37,904
- Produce Distributed: 23,133 pieces of fresh produce
- Volunteers Engaged: 300+
Three weeks have passed since Hurricane Michael made landfall, and tens of thousands of Hurricane Michael survivors still struggle with meeting basic needs. Feeding the Gulf Coast remains committed to helping these families long-term. We continue to work with Feeding America and Feeding Florida to coordinate disaster response efforts with local Emergency Management Agencies and our partner community organizations in these areas.
To date, Feeding the Gulf Coast has distributed over 900,000 meals and snacks, as well as more than 1.3 million bottles of water in Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson and Washington counties, going beyond our normal service area to serve those communities who need our help. The reports from the staff we have dispatched to the areas affected are absolutely heartbreaking. One of our employees, Lisanka Parkes, was distributing food boxes in Panama City last week when she met a woman who was living in her car with her daughter and dog. Their home had been destroyed and they had nowhere to go, feeling unsafe at a shelter. As Mrs. Parkes helped the woman and her daughter get their food boxes to their car, she saw their car’s rear window was missing due to storm damage, and all that remained of their belongings were in the trunk: a few clothes, blankets, and, now, food. Everything else was lost to the storm. Testimonies like this reinforce our commitment to get aid to those in need, as well as our gratitude for your support that we are enables to serve.
We are currently in the process of trying to secure warehouse space near the affected area so we can be more efficient in serving these communities long-term. If you have any information that might help us locate warehouse space in the area, please contact Cyndy Baggett with this information.
October 26, 2018
To our partners on the ground in Panama City and surrounding communities, you continue to amaze us with your tireless work to aid families devastated by Hurricane Michael. We appreciate you and we’ll continue to provide you with the food and supplies that our neighbors are in desperate need of.
October 23, 2018 | Feeding the Gulf Coast Pledges Continued Aid to Families Devastated by Hurricane Michael
More than 13 days have passed since Hurricane Michael devastated parts of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. In the wake of this catastrophic hurricane, Feeding the Gulf Coast is continuing to work around the clock to provide much needed food and water to those struggling in the affected Florida communities. They have been working with Feeding America and Feeding Florida to coordinate disaster response efforts with local Emergency Management Agencies and their partner community organizations in these areas.
Feeding the Gulf Coast has distributed food and water in Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson and Washington counties, going beyond their normal service area to serve those communities who need their help. To date, Feeding the Gulf Coast has distributed over 1,000,000 bottles of water and nearly 500,000 meals and snacks to affected communities. In addition, they have distributed over 20,000 fresh apples and oranges to these areas, offering families a much needed break from the shelf stable meals they have had to rely on since Hurricane Michael made landfall. They thank the more than 200 volunteers who have helped them so far.
“We are committed to continuing to work tirelessly to provide food relief to the communities devastated by Hurricane Michael. We know the need is great and want everyone to know that we are here for the long haul and will continue to provide relief to this community for the coming months and years,” said Cathy Pope, Feeding the Gulf Coast President & CEO.
Feeding the Gulf Coast is fully committing their efforts, staff and resources to reach those whose lives have been changed by this catastrophe. They will continue to keep the public informed of their efforts as our communities start down the road to recovery by sharing their efforts on their website, feedingthegulfcoast.org, and Facebook page, facebook.com/FeedingtheGulfCoast/. If you know of communities impacted that are in need of additional help, please reach out to them. They are currently in the process of trying to secure warehouse space near the affected area so they can more efficiently serve these communities long-term. If you have any information that might help them locate warehouse space in the area, please contact Feeding the Gulf Coast with this information.
October 22, 2018 | Impact Update
- Water Distributed: 1,193,882 bottles
- MREs Distributed: 467,845
- Snack Items Distributed: 9,000
- Disaster Box Meals Distributed: 14,521
- Produce Distributed: 20,943 pieces of fresh produce
- Volunteers Engaged: 200+
Donations: We are able to stretch your donation and help make sure it goes where it is most needed. For every $50, we are able to provide 250 meals. To make a donation, visit this link.
Volunteering: For days, weeks and even months to come, we will rely on help from volunteers. If you would like to volunteer, or stay in loop on disaster relief needs, visit this link.
Contact Us: If you would like to engage with our efforts or would like more information, please reach out to Cyndy Baggett, Vice President of Development and Marketing at (251) 653-1617 ext.130.
Thank you for your support as we work to help rebuild the lives of those affected by this devastating storm.
October 21, 2018 | On the Ground Report: Amanda Young
Today I had the opportunity to sit and listen to a pastor who basically lost everything. Their church was badly hit and most of their people suffered a lot of lost. They started cooking and people just showed up. People who hadn’t ate for days came there collapsing from hunger. And they were able to feed them. In the midst of all they themselves had lost, they stopped and fed people. And they haven’t stopped. It made my heart so happy the minute I got out of our van to hear the church people say, yeah! Feeding the Gulf Coast is here because they knew we came with more supplies. The pastor asked how long we would be out here and I told him, “until the job is done.” God is doing amazing things in this community. One lady said they couldn’t get water to run anywhere in the church and she prayed in the kitchen for it to start. There’s running water in their kitchen now and only their kitchen. I had the chance to pray with the pastor and encouraged him and my heart is changed. I’ve been so blessed to see how God is moving in the midst of this and how people are coming together to rebuild lives.
October 20, 2018 | On the Ground Report: Cindy Bloom
I spent the last five days delivering food and water in support of Hurricane Michael relief. The destruction is devastating and widespread. I spent most of my time delivering food to Panama City residents, but I did one run to Fountain, FL which is close to I-10 and it was just as bad up there. The footprint of Michael’s destruction is wide and it will take a long time for survivors to rebuild their lives. Here are a few photos of the places we dropped food and water. I was so heartened to be able to give some people fresh produce and they acted like it was gold. It gave them a break from the MREs and I think gave them a glimmer of normalcy. Feeding the Gulf Coast will be intensively serving this broken community for a long time as people pull their lives back together. People I talked to who worked hard their whole life lost everything, and all they wanted was their boss to call them and tell them to come back into work – but many will not have a job for a long time because their employers also lost everything. In a town based on tourism, many people were living paycheck to paycheck and are feeling little hope as their family of six sleeps in a tent outside the rubble of where their house was. My part was small in delivering 12,000-21,000 pounds of food and water a day to survivors but it was all I could do.
October 19, 2018 | On the Ground Report: Eugenie Sellier
We had the amazing opportunity to drop off produce at a distribution location in Panama City. We brought them apples and oranges to give out to community members. As soon as we arrived, people began taking the produce. Everyday is a pleasure to serve and connect with the communities to provide food and water.
October 17, 2018 | On the Ground Report: Laura Carlson
Since last Friday I’ve been in Bay County with other staff running food and water out to the impacted communities, and we’ve had some amazing volunteers.
Yesterday we went out to the Springfield firehouse and then split ways. I had an amazing local volunteer in the truck with me who was able to navigate us around all the road blocks we came across. She was even more amazing when my truck’s alternator went out at an intersection in the middle of Panama City. Without her there I’m not sure what I would’ve done! We didn’t have cell service or any way to let our on the ground team know where we were, but she was cool as a cucumber.
Thank you to all the people that went through this hurricane that are still so giving of themselves.
October 16, 2018 | Impact Update
- Water Distributed: 542,796 bottles
- Pounds of Food Distributed: 1,736,160
- Volunteers Engaged: 200+
In the wake of this catastrophic hurricane, Feeding the Gulf Coast is working to provide much needed food and water to those struggling in the affected Florida communities. Feeding the Gulf Coast serves 7 counties in the Florida Panhandle, from Escambia County in the west to Bay, Holmes, and Washington counties in the east. We have been working with Feeding Florida and Feeding America to coordinate disaster response efforts with local Emergency Management Agencies and our partner community organizations in these areas.
Feeding the Gulf Coast staff are on the ground in Panama City, Mexico Beach, Callaway, Port St. Joe, Fountain and Lynn Haven, among other smaller communities, to distribute food and water, as well as scout locations for additional distribution points. The reports from the staff we have dispatched to the areas affected are absolutely heartbreaking. One of our employees was distributing supplies in neighborhoods this past Sunday and was deeply impacted by the sheer volume of families, seniors, children, and even babies who are suffering and in need. As you can imagine, stories like this reinforce our sense of urgency as we work around the clock to get aid to those in need.
We are currently working to strategically place additional emergency food distributions in the most storm affected areas in the panhandle of Florida, regardless of service area. These distributions, held consistently, will help ensure those recovering from Hurricane Michael have reliable access to much needed food and water, providing a sense of stability during this time of tragedy and great uncertainty in their lives.
October 15, 2018 | Update on Efforts
Staff are on the ground in Panama City, Mexico Beach, Calloway, Port St. Joe, and Lynn Haven, among other smaller communities, to distribute food and water, as well as scout locations for additional distribution points. We are conducting multiple trips daily out of our Theodore, AL and Milton, FL warehouses to bring truckloads of water, snacks, and MREs to these areas.
We are utilizing every resource we have available to us to increase our ability to reach the maximum number of individuals.
We are still working to secure a warehouse near the disaster area for food storage and distribution. This is critical to our ability to provide food and water both immediately and long-term to the affected areas as these communities recover and eventually rebuild. We remain committed to sustaining the members of the affected area long-term. If you know of any leads, please let us know.
October 12, 2018
October 11, 2018 | Feeding the Gulf Coast Poised to Provide for the Communities Affected by Hurricane Michael
As we begin to see the effects of Hurricane Michael, Feeding the Gulf Coast is collaborating with Feeding America, Feeding Florida, Bay County Emergency Management, Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) and other disaster responders to prepare to distribute food and water in areas affected by the hurricane.
“Our emergency management access permits are current and we are working around the clock with local government officials to access areas where our help is needed the most. In advance of Hurricane Michael, Feeding the Gulf Coast staged water and MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) throughout its service area to be utilized by evacuation shelters. Additionally, as soon as it is safe to access affected areas, we will be delivering additional support in the form of water and food,” says Cathy Pope, President and CEO of Feeding the Gulf Coast.
Feeding the Gulf Coast serves seven counties along the panhandle of Florida, from Escambia County in the west to Bay, Holmes, and Washington counties in the east. A natural disaster of this caliber has the potential to wipe out food stores in communities for days at a time, or longer. We are deeply concerned for our communities affected by Hurricane Michael and will work to ensure food relief is provided where it is needed most.
If you are able to assist, Feeding the Gulf Coast will need your help as we emerge from Hurricane Michael. We are asking for volunteers and monetary donations to tackle any upcoming needs. To find out how you can help those affected by Hurricane Michael, please visit : www.feedingthegulfcoast.org. For those seeking food assistance, please call (888) 704-FOOD (3663).
October 10, 2018
Feeding the Gulf Coast serves seven counties in the panhandle of Florida, from Escambia County in the west to Bay, Holmes, and Washington counties in the east. We are working with Feeding Florida and Feeding America to coordinate disaster response efforts with local Emergency Management Agencies and our partner community organizations in these areas. As we respond to this disaster, we will work around the clock to make sure people in affected communities get the food and water they need to get through this disaster. We will enter affected areas to provide food relief once we are told it is safe to do so by local EMA offices.
Our biggest needs are funding and volunteers. If you wish to donate your dollars or time, please visit our website at www.feedingthegulfcoast.org. If you or someone you know needs help with food, call us at 888-704-FOOD. We ask that you please do not show up in these affected communities without connecting with us or another disaster agency as this poses a safety risk to all involved.