Most Floridians are accustomed to hurricanes making landfall in their state. From hurricanes like Matthew, Charley, and Andrew, wicked storms are just apart of the Florida culture. However, not so much for those who live in Florida’s Panhandle. Places like Panama City, Mexico Beach, and Apalachicola, to name a few of the hard-hit communities, were terribly affected by the Category 4 hurricane, the only one of its strength to ever hit Florida's Panhandle.
Americares, Red Cross and FEMA are known organizations to help with disaster and storm relief. New Mount Zion AME and Kaylin’s Kids can be added to the list. Pastor Anton G. Elwood has offered to help the victims of Hurricane Michael during this hard time.
“We were spared here in Tallahassee and we cannot overlook that. The worst of the damage could have came to us,” said Elwood. “I think it is of highest priority that we do our part. They will have to deal with this for a long time so our service to them should also be extended.”
Elwood encourages the members of NMZ to donate jeans and water. He decided on jeans because he knows that most people have an abundance of them that may no longer fit, and water because well, people need water to live everyday.
“I have family in Panama City who lost their home because of this storm,” said Morgen Murray a member of NMZ. “So when pastor said that he wanted the church to help donate to the city it touched me. But it meant more when he mentioned as a church that we would be donating for the rest of the year because people easily forget when they are not the ones directly affected.”
Elwood’s daughter Kaylin mentioned to him a few storms ago that she wanted to make a difference and help little girls like her who were affected by natural disasters. The family never got a chance to fully execute Kaylin’s idea, but this time around she insisted on starting Kaylin’s Kids.
“I just wanted to help little girls and give them stuff so they can live through the storm,” said Kaylin. “Stuff like shampoo, conditioner underwear, socks, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste stuff like that.”
Kaylin is only 9 years old. She is a fourth-grader and already knows that when she grows up, she wants to be a business owner who helps people.
“I was thinking about other people. We were so blessed to have all this stuff and other people lost theirs so I wanted to help them out,” said Kaylin.
NMZ and Kaylin’s kids have already started collecting donations and will be sending them to a sister church in Fort Walton Beach that will make sure the donations get to the right people. Donations are collected at the church during normal operational hours Monday through Friday 9 to 5 or on Sundays.