08 Feb Bay Education Foundation Saves Christmas for Hurricane Survivors
Hurricane Michael, a historic Category 4 storm, struck the Florida Panhandle in October 2017, unleashing heavy rain, high winds, and a devastating storm surge. The 155 mph winds that tore through Florida and parts of Southwest Georgia ripped homes and businesses apart and left over 1 million people without power. When the 325,000 residents who were told to evacuate returned, many of them found only remnants of what once used to be their home.
To this day, hundreds of families are still unable to go back to their homes. Some are staying with family and friends who have opened their doors to them. Others have no other choice but to gather their families into tents on their front yard until they are able to find more suitable living arrangements. This storm took a huge physical and emotional toll on these families and with Christmas approaching, the last thing they were able to think about was how to get presents for their kids and give them some sense of normalcy amidst the chaos. Luckily, Good360, The Bay Education Foundation, Salvage Christmas and several of our trusted donors were able to lift that burden by having one of the largest Christmas toy drives the county had ever seen!
Many of the schools in the Bay area saw irreparable damage that left thousands of students unable to return to class. As of December 2018, there were still 10,000 students that had not returned to school. The out-of-work teachers and principals of the schools have taken on a secondary job of helping these students acquire their basic needs such as clothing and personal hygiene products. In conjunction with the Bay Education Foundation, these teachers partnered with Salvage Christmas to give these students a little extra this past Christmas.
Salvage Christmas has been in operation for over 30 years as a Christmas giveaway event for the Bay Area. Run by the Bay County Sheriff, Mike Jones aka “Salvage Santa”, they serve hundreds of families every Christmas who are unable to afford presents for their families. This year, due to the countless families affected by Hurricane Michael, the event served 2,000 people a day over the course of 4 days. The event grew so big that it caught the attention of Good Morning America who donated additional toys to be distributed at the event.
Good360 contributed nearly 1000 toys and 500 articles of clothing from several of our donors for this event. At the event, families were able to come through a room stocked with toys suitable for all ages and pick one book, board game, ball, bike, Barbie, two items for each of their children, and two stocking stuffers. The line for the event wrapped around the block and families were emotional as they picked out toys to give their children and provide the Christmas they thought they wouldn’t be possible.
In addition to the toy distribution, the Bay Education Foundation is also holding an event for the teachers that were affected by the storm and have still worked tirelessly to provide for the children of their community. They will be receiving Macy’s, Talbots, Thoughtfully gift baskets, Eddie Bauer clothing and $10,000 in Macy’s gift cards to purchase whatever they need the most.
Good360 is proud to be a part of these types of events that give a little bit of joy to people during one of the most difficult times in their lives. We thank our generous donors and nonprofit partners for making these events possible.