Panama City, FL (November 1, 2018) – A Salvation Army truck towing a trailer with food boxes slowly weaved its way through Sandy Creek, a rural community on the outskirts of Panama City. Hurricane Michael’s destructive force left no home untouched here. Some are beyond salvageable.
“It’s very sad,” said Stan Carr, a Salvation Army volunteer from New Jersey. “I’m grateful I’m in the position to help them even in the smallest way.”
As the electricity has been restored across the area, the need for hot meals has decreased, but food boxes from the Midwest Food Bank are in high demand. The Salvation Army has distributed more than 10,000 food boxes to hurricane survivors since October 11, a number that continues to grow each day.
“Maybe all of the food in their house was destroyed, stores are depleted,” Stan explained. “So we’re going to give them a few days’ worth of meals until the stores get stocked and they can get back on their feet a little.”
The power came back to this neighborhood a few days ago. Mary Carr (no relation to Stan,) her husband, daughter and three grandsons rode out the storm at a church a few miles away. They are among the families who are able to continue living in their home, which she says miraculously sustained only cosmetic damage.
“It changes your life,” Mary said as she looked at the debris that lined Country Club Drive.
Mary is grateful for The Salvation Army’s support providing hot meals while they coped with no power for nearly three weeks. On this day she was able to get a few food boxes to tide them over at home.
“You’ve been absolutely wonderful,” said Mary.
Stan, together with his fellow Salvation Army volunteers Jim Wilson and Angela Cano, went door to door until all 180 food boxes were gone. It’s clear that the road to recovery in Sandy Creek will be long and arduous, but The Salvation Army remains committed to helping this community heal and rebuild.
“We’re here to hold their hand and we tell them, ‘there’s going to be brighter days,’” Stan said. “It’s also our presence, knowing Someone is there for them and someone is on their side. It hurts to see people in so much pain. And that’s what drives me to come from New Jersey and help in any way I can.