Tennessee non-profit hopes to bring spotlight back to panhandle

Local News

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Now 11 months past Hurricane Michael, getting help from outside the panhandle has come few and far between but one non-profit from Middle Tennessee is hoping to put the news of the category 5 storm back in everyone’s minds.

One Generation Away is a non-profit 501(c)3 that works to bring fresh, healthy food directly to people in need and strive to eliminate food deserts in the low-income neighborhoods in America.

The group paid a visit to Panama City on Saturday, bringing 35,000 pounds of food to residents who are still recovering from the storm.

“Our goal is to come 3 months to a year after a disaster because we know the need is still here and still going,” said Founder, Chris Whitney.

The group of volunteers set up shop at Saint Dominic Catholic Church and served over 400 families.

Whitney says he is no stranger to Bay County and seeing the devastation after the storm was unsettling.

“It just breaks my heart and being from Middle Tennessee and the midwest originally, this is where everybody in the midwest and middle Tennessee comes to go to vacation,” Whitney said.

He says if they’re willing to vacation here, they should also give back.

When the national media moved on to another story and the news of Hurricane Micheal either never got to people outside the panhandle or left people’s minds, Whitney says his reaction was similar to those who live in the impacted areas.

“Mine was the same thing. I said, if y’all didn’t see what happened from Michael, you missed a big hurricane. I told people it was like the Katrina that nobody knew about,” Whitney said.

While the non-profit put food in people’s pantrys, Whitney says their main goal is to get more people to come and help in the future.

“We just want to bring awareness that there is still a tremendous, and I’m not exaggerating, a tremendous need here so we would encourage you to come back down if you’re skilled in a trade, bring groups that can do roofs, that can do the framing and things like that to help people,” Whitney said.

And he says, he wants Hurricane Michael survivors to know they are not forgotten.

“We just want y’all to know we love you and we care about you that people do know there are still issues here that need to be fixed,” Whitney said.

One Generation Away will be making another trip to the panhandle in November.

To learn more about the Middle Tennessee based group, click here.

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