Communities across northern Florida and south Georgia are devastated from the effects of Hurricane Michael, which made landfall last week as the only Category 4 hurricane on record to ever hit the Florida panhandle. Victims of Hurricane Michael are desperate for relief as large portions of the area are still without running water or electricity.
The storm made landfall at Mexico Beach, Florida, and continued upward as a Category 3 hurricane through south Georgia near Albany, leaving a path of destruction in its wake.
Businesses from the west Georgia area are coming together to do their part in helping those affected by the hurricane.
“We are trying to do our part in helping with relief efforts for Hurricane Michael by collecting as many items as we can by Thursday so our truck can leave out on Friday morning,” said Rett Harmon, owner of Century 21 Novus Realty. “We want everyone who can to stop by our office here at 537 Newnan Road and drop off things like water, non-perishable food items, tarps, batteries, and anything else these people need.”
Harmon said Century 21 Novus is partnered with Jordan Truck Sales, which is providing a truck to transport the items. Century 21 will be collecting items today until Thursday. He noted that the drive will also be accepting monetary donations for relief victims.
“If someone wants to donate money, they can write us a check, and 100 percent of the funds will be donated to help hurricane victims,” said Harmon. “Curtis North and I, as owners of Century 21 Novus, have donated the first $1,000. and we’re willing to collect anything people from this area want to give and take it to those who are in need.”
For Michael and Starla Wahl, owners of ReThread Thrift store, the relief efforts have much more of a personal impact.
“My wife is from Cottondale, which is just an hour north of Panama City, and is one of the rural areas that is just devastated right now,” said Wahl. “We’ve been in contact with our friends and family from Cottondale, and they are really in need of our help right now. They’ve been telling us what people are in need of most right now. We’ve gotten more requests for water, non-perishable food, baby food and formula, pet food, and hygiene items than anything else.”
Items are being collected at the ReThread Thrift store location at 1561 Highway 27 South in Carrollton. Visit the ReThread Thrift Store Facebook page here to find out more details.
“We’re trying to encourage everyone to come donate items today and Wednesday so we can get them down there on Thursday,” said Wahl. “We are working with a local church in Cottondale, and everything we collect will be taken directly to them and distributed to residents of that area.”
Southwire’s Project GIFT is hosting a disaster relief collection Wednesday, October 17 and Thursday, October 18. Volunteers will collect supplies from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Walmart Supercenter parking lot located on 1735 South Highway 27 in Carrollton, Georgia. According to GEMA representatives in the hardest hit counties in South Georgia, non-perishable food is in high demand.
“The citizens of Miller County and Colquitt that I have worked with this past week have been the humblest people,” said Dave Wade, member of Haralson County Fire Department, who is serving as Commander for the Georgia Rescue Task Force 6 and Incident Commander for the Hurricane Response in Miller County. “They are coming together to do a lot with a little, and anything we can do to help these folks will make a difference.”
Along with the need for food, Wade encouraged collecting toiletries and cleaning supplies–particularly large contractor trash bags and paper products.
“We have connected with several organizations in South Georgia to pinpoint the areas most in need,” said Kristian Whittington, manager of employee communication and engagement and Project GIFT coordinator. “These have a direct connection with many of our employees, and we are looking to assist where we can.”
Other organizations, including the Rapha Clinic of West Georgia, have joined Southwire in hosting disaster relief collections in west Georgia. Rapha Clinic will collect on October 19 and 20 and again on October 22 and 23 at the Ingles parking lot in Temple, Georgia. Rapha Clinic’s efforts will support the town of Carrabelle, Florida.
For more information, including a more detailed list of needed items, stay tuned to Southwire Community on Facebook.
Trey Travis, owner of Complex Training Center, is organizing another local effort to help the hurricane victims.
“We are taking donations, money, and supplies down to an area just north of Panama City, and we will be collecting those until Thursday evening,” said Travis. “We’re just trying to do our part and get some relief to those people and also to help them with cleanup efforts. After we take the donations down there, we are staying for a few days to help clean up the debris.”
Donations will be accepted at the Complex Training Center location at 302 Columbia Drive in Carrollton from now until Thursday at 5:00 p.m.