Local business owners Kevin and Susan Engle have created the Bay County Strong Hurricane Michael relief effort. Although originally from Atlanta, these entrepreneurs have strong personal ties to the Emerald Coast as two of the restaurants they are partners in, Back Beach Barbecue and Restaurant Paradis, are located in Panama City Beach and Rosemary Beach.
Bay County Strong was founded as a local effort to assist the Florida Panhandle with Hurricane Michael relief efforts through hands-on and financial assistance for those impacted by the devastation caused by the storm, all while keeping those in the Atlanta area informed and engaged with the help needed.
Bay County Strong will focus on four key relief areas in order to maximize its efforts and provide the most support possible to the affected regions. First, as a collaborative effort, the teams of Restaurant Paradis, Back Beach Barbecue and Atlanta-based 101 Concepts Restaurant Group will pool their resources together to provide food and meals to those in need. They have created the “Buy a Butt” program, consisting of a $35 donation that will provide a hot pulled pork sandwich, chips and a bottle of water to 20 people.
The second key area they will be focusing on is purchasing supplies to be handed out and distributed. The list of supplies needed is ever changing and can range from generators, tarps and chainsaws to feminine care products, diapers and school supplies. Bay County Strong will work with local officials to determine the most pressing needs. Monetary donations made directly to the relief effort will fund the purchasing of these supplies, which will then be directly dispersed.
The relief efforts will be long-term and continue into the next several months. With that in mind, Bay County Strong will be providing financial assistance to other organizations such as shelters, various nonprofit relief organizations, groups providing temporary housing solutions, and local humane societies that are overflowing with surrendered and lost pets.
Finally, the fourth key area Bay County Strong will focus on is aiding specific families or individuals that they uncover on a case-by-case basis. As individuals and families attempt to rebuild their homes and their lives, Bay County Strong will help lessen the pressure they all feel by offering and providing much needed direct support, such as housing, furniture or food.
The relief effort will also focus on providing holiday meals, gifts for children to open on Christmas morning, and other holiday-centered efforts.
In order to fund these efforts, Bay County Strong has started an Ambassador Program in order to raise funds directly from the community and nationwide. If you are interested in becoming a Bay County Strong Ambassador, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations can also be made through paypal.me/baycountystrong850, or you can mail a check to P.O. Box 611071, Rosemary Beach, FL 32462.
– Jessica Proffitt Bracken
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