The Emerald Coast Junior Women’s Club is overwhelmed by the number of donations given by Freeport residents


FREEPORT Fla. (WMBB) — The Emerald Coast Junior Women Club’s Miss Camella Scholarship Pageant is returning, and residents across the panhandle are in support.

They have not had a pageant since before Hurricane Michael. When coming across the pageant flyer, Trish Boston, a Freeport resident, and her neighbors wanted to help by gathering donations.

The collection of shoes is what caught Boston’s eye while scrolling online. She has been looking for a way to help out her community until she came across this flyer for the Miss Camella Scholarship Pageant.

Little did she know the impact she was going to make.

“And I was on Facebook one day, and I saw an ad for a little community called cedar grove,” Boston said. “And Cedar Grove is having a pageant; the entry fee was a pair of shoes.”

So Boston and her neighbors started collecting donations. When the ECJWC members came by Sunday to collect the donations, they were blown away.

“We’ve been working these last couple of years to really help build the ECJWC, and it seemed like several factors were working against us,” said Elana Hatcher, the club’s vice president. “The hurricane, COVID-19. And to see one of our first major projects explode into such a blessing of giving, it just overwhelmed me, and it could really bring me to tears right now.”

Hatcher said the pageant chose to use Kicks for Kids as their service project this year, but after receiving all these donations, they turned to Caroline Windham with the Panama City Women’s Club to help them distribute all the items.

“The women’s club has been supplying clothes at clothes closets at some of the Bay District Schools, so when I got here, I was like, wow, there is more than shoes and clothes, there are diapers and towels. So in my mind, I was sorting, pregnancy resource center, of course, the clothes closets and kicks for kids,” said Windham.

The president of the ECJWC Shantel Dixon said these donations were a blessing.

“We’ve gotten a few from private individuals in the past, and I thought two garbage bags full of elementary school boys’ clothes were amazing,” said Dixon.”To pull up and for it to really be there, and to realize that the project that we have worked so hard for is actually reaching people in the panhandle.”

The Miss Camella Scholarship Pageant will be held on February 6. For more information about the pageant and how you can get involved or make donations, you can visit their website here.

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