Hundreds of residents wait for Christmas dinner at the Rebuild Bay County food giveaway

Panama City

PANAMA CITY Fla. (WMBB) — The need for food is greater than ever in our community, and that is very clear based on how many people showed up to the Rebuild Bay County food giveaway.

Residents arrived hours in advance to get their spot in line to secure their Christmas dinners. 

The line of cars stretched down 11th Street, past Harrison Avenue and around the government center. Jerri Vincent was one of the residents in line. 

“Well it just shows that people need help,” Vincent said. “You this pandemic and this is the first time in 13 years that I haven’t had a job.” 

Vincent said coming together is the only way to stop the problem. This food giveaway is the only way that some people will be able to have a Christmas dinner.

“Oh I think it is great everybody helping everybody out because people are in such a mess,” Vincent said. 

It is not just the food that makes this day special, it is also the holiday spirit and devotion to the community. 

Each person receives a turkey or ham for their Christmas dinner along with other everyday items they may need. 

Rebuild Bay County Executive Director Donna Pilson said working to combat the need in the community brings joy to her heart. 

“It is so motivating,” Pilson said. “We have so many volunteers here who are excited about serving the community. Service agencies are here in festive gear and just it being the holiday season gets everybody in the mood and feel so good about giving.” 

Pilson said Saturday’s giveaway put meals on about five hundred families tables.  

The event was put on in partnership with the Bay County Commission as well as other local sponsors like Career Source Gulf Coast and the LEAD Coalition.

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