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'They Were Screaming 'Operation Blessing!' and That Brought Tears to Our Eyes'


No running water, no electricity and no way to get food – that remains the plight of people in the St. Andrews community nearly one week after Hurricane Michael pummeled Florida's Panhandle.
With 155 mph winds that snapped trees like twigs and blew roofs off homes, Michael's fierce lashing of the Sunshine State has left a mark that will not go away soon.

"We really need tarps and help with fixing roofs and removing trees out of yards," one woman said, "because you've got a lot of people going around trying to scam the elderly and charging what they shouldn't and getting a check ahead of time and not coming to do the work, $5,000 just to cut a tree down."

That's why residents were thrilled when volunteers from CBN's Operation Blessing arrived to help them.

Every morning, volunteers gather at Lighthouse Church in Panama City Beach to coordinate teams and minister to the community, "to spread the love of Jesus out to all those who are hurting in our community," said Wendy, an Operation Blessing volunteer.

"We are the church; we are God's hands and feet… Let them know that help is on the way," she said.

Without electricity, people are hot and hungry. And with few gas stations open, it's hard to get around.

"I love it and thank you all so much," said one grateful recipient of Operation Blessing's aid. "I appreciate it."

Another storm survivor, Jaqlyne Gaynor, lives alone and has cancer. Nevertheless, she perseveres through her trust in God.

"Well it's hard, it's rough, but I keep the faith and keep trying to move on," she said. "I know what He can do and what He will do, and I just asked Him – I asked not greedy but needy, you know, 'cause other people around here are in bad shape, too."

And the Operation Blessing volunteers will not be forgotten.

"They're angels. That's all I can say. They're angels," Gaynor said.

"It was very overwhelming, lots of people in tears," recalled Wendy. "They were grateful. We did a lot of praying for people, not just handing them essentials but praying with them. That meant a lot to them."

Volunteers are thrilled to partner with Operation Blessing to help ease the suffering during a time of such overwhelming need.

"'You guys have been wonderful. You've been a huge blessing,'" Wendy quoted several grateful residents. "We had multiple families today that were shouting at us wearing our shirts, 'God bless you. Thank you, Operation Blessing.' They were screaming 'Operation Blessing' and that brought tears to our eyes."

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