This year marks 45 years that the Panama City Rescue Mission has been serving the homeless in Bay County.
The faith-based organization offers free meals to those in need, a place to stay, and an addiction recovery program.
“For many of them, it’s this or death. It’s not easy coming from the streets. The temptation is to always go back to the streets. If they get a different perspective, that’s what we’re trying to provide,” Henry Hazard, a board member of the organization, said.
With a new perspective, they discover another chance at life.
“When they come here, they’re depressed, they’re down. When they leave here, they have hope that there’s something out there for them,” he said.
For 45 years, the Panama City Rescue Mission has had an open door for those in need.
“Anybody who is homeless and needs a meal, they can come here to the mission and eat,” Hazard said. He’s been at the mission since the initial idea became a reality 45 years ago.
After graduating, the next step is to get a job and write their success stories on the wall.
Joe Brown is in the process of becoming one of those trophies. Medications prescribed for his depression and high blood pressure unexpectedly pushed him on to the streets.
“[It was] so messed up because I didn’t realize I was addicted to opiates and Benzos. I lost my job because I couldn’t work and I found myself homeless,” Brown said.
He now lives at and volunteers for the rescue mission.
“It’s been a place that I can serve and be served. To be able to serve the homeless is such a blessing,” he said.
After graduating, he’ll take on his second chance.
“I will be preaching the gospel wherever I go. I’d like to go back home and see my family,” Brown said.
To donate: visit https://pcrmission.org/