Terri Manning has devoted her life to improving the lives of homeless people in Bay County. Manning knows the struggle of being homeless first hand after losing her home during Hurricane Michael. After fighting that and a malignant tumor, Manning says she feels she was spared to live out her life’s purpose and help others.
BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB)– Panama City resident, Terri Manning can often be found jumping out of her car with her partner Kesha Roberts, both have food and supplies in hand to give to the homeless. Manning said it’s how she and Roberts got the title “Jump Out Girls.”
“I’ve devoted my entire life to them, anything i could try to give them it’s just so important to me,” Manning said.
Manning is a nurse by trade, but gave up her day job to give to others. A decision she said was easy to make.
“There is a greater need out on the streets for healthcare, you know, these people don’t have money or insurance,” Manning said.
Manning is unlike any other good samaritan. She knows the struggle of being homeless first hand when Hurricane Michael ripped away her entire livelihood back in 2018.
“We had no home we had nothing…Nothing,” she said.
In that moment, Manning said she began to realize the stereotypes surrounding the homeless, and how easily they can feel neglected in society.
“I’ve often expressed this to the homeless people that I work with now, if I could have had just one person that walked up to me being homeless and just smiled or asked me how my day was it would’ve made things so much better,” she said.
Manning lived on the streets with her children for four months, surviving that and a malignant tumor. In that moment, Manning said she knew she found her life’s purpose.
“I knew if I ever got back on my feet again once again this is what I was going to do. I wanted to give back,” she said.
Manning said she doesn’t do it for the glory or praise, but she receives gratification for giving back in other ways.
“A smile. It’s hard for them to do, just look at the situation that they are living in,” she said.
Despite the person’s story or background Manning never turns anyone away.
“Never judge a book by it’s cover. You never know when that could be your face that you’re walking past, and it shouldn’t matter what the reason is that they are on the street,” she said.
Manning doesn’t just help those on the streets but other families struggling in the community through her group “Blessing the Panhandle” which she founded after Hurricane Michael.
“I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do. I just opened this page and put a big bio about it and this is what we’re going to do and it just overflowed with amazing amazing donors,” she said.
With the help from donors and contributing her own money, she’s been able to help out hundreds within the the community. Manning said this is her best therapy.
“I don’t feel like I really helped them, they helped me,” she said.