PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla – The residents of Panama City Beach, Florida, say they've never seen a storm like Hurricane Michael. Between the power outages and the poor roads, many have trouble getting help, so Operation Blessing is bringing it to them.
Operation Blessing begins the day with a prayer over the volunteers as they prepare to go out into the community. "We just declare right now Father that through our hands and through our work, that people are going to be able to meet you, and they're going to be able to understand just how amazing you are," a staffer prayed.
Operation Blessing is responding to the challenge of helping Michael's victims in Panama City Beach, where one of the worst hurricanes in recorded history struck the Florida Panhandle.
"For the last three days we have waited for people to come and cut down trees so we could even go into town to get gas and water and supplies," says hurricane victim Angela.
"Our car port's gone, our porch is gone, but you know what we have a home left and God is good, and we have been blessed, and we're going to go home and eat this hot food, for the first time in three days," she said. "But I've never seen anything like it and I was raised here all my life, I'm just excited that everybody's come together and worked so hard, somebody that I don't even know is helping me."
By partnering with Lighthouse Church, Operation Blessing is able to bring relief to people who never expected to be in this position a week ago.
The need is so great in Panama City Beach and the surrounding areas that Operation Blessing discovered many people did not have transportation to get to a food distribution at a church. So Operation Blessing took the food to them.
"We don't have any transportation," says one elderly food recipient. "It's a relief and a blessing."
Folks in an apartment complex we visited are still without electricity and running water, so Operation Blessing is doing whatever it takes to bring them relief.
"The need's gonna be for a long time cause I've traveled and seen some of the areas here, and it's that way no matter where you go," says one OB volunteer. "If you look at the Bible, it's broke down into two parts: relationships and love, and that's all there is."
And every day new relationships are formed when volunteers, compelled by love, come out to put faith into action.
"It just breaks my heart to see people that are without," says one Operation Blessing volunteer. "I'm a nurse and I love to take care of people and so whatever I can do, you know. People are so happy to see you and just so happy to have a meal and know that someone cares and that even a 'God bless you' to them just makes their day."