Rescue Mission claims to be “running low on food”

PANAMA CITY — Without more donations, the pantry at the Panama City Rescue Mission could be bare in two weeks.

“We’ve got about two weeks until we run out of fruits and vegetables,” said communications manager Abby Stokes.

There are donations of other foods, including deliveries of baked goods from restaurants, but “all of the things that hold nutrition to keep our guests going are running out,” she said.

The mission typically sees a big increase in donations around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but this year donations decreased by 12 percent over the same period the year before.

While donations are down, demands for service have increased by about 30 percent, she said.

“The needs continue to rise,” the Rev. Billy Fox, executive director of the mission, said in a news release. “Two people per day sign in new to the mission. Meals are steady and well over 700 per day. Coupled with a low donation in food and funding at the holidays, we face some challenging times.”

Stokes said the decrease is uncharacteristic because donations have grown steadily each year through the recession and oil spill. She said she’s not sure what led to the decrease but it could be from negative attention on the mission from people unhappy with its location.

“The fact is people are still hungry,” she said. “They still need food.”

She said it’s not the first time the mission has been low on food.

“The Lord has always been faithful to pull us through it,” she said

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Reality has hit the management at the rescue mission….almost. The reason the organizations donations are down, the reason the facility is running low on food is not because of “negative attention”, it is because of “negative behavior” by the rescue mission themselves. The management at the rescue still fail to connect the dots (although one could argue that this is intentional) that any loss of donations or tightening of operational assets is in direct correlation to their bad behavior. The mission has built a multi-million dollar industry on the backs of  the homeless and the naive community that has supported them financially. As the facility has grown larger, the impact of their facility has become more and more damaging to neighboring property owners, downtown businesses and the community at large. As this negative impact has increased several fold, complaints about the rescue to local government were largely brushed under the carpet for years and the rescue themselves thumbed their nose at the very community who he would then turn around and ask for donations from. Mayor Brudnicki has had the courage to expose the problems of vagrancy downtown and call out the source of  those problems which is the rescue mission. When Billy Fox comments in this article that “the needs continues to rise”, it shows he continues to play his “games”. The city recently had a nationally know advocate and expert on the homeless study our downtown and characterized the problem as “off the charts”. Mr. Fox needs to read the writing on the wall and recognize that his game is over. The community will no longer just stand by and let the rescue mission tarnish our downtown by bringing in thousands of vagrants, transients and panhandlers just so he can maintain ever increasing numbers of “persons served” to justify higher dollar grants and donations.

We encourage the community to help those in need. Take the time to learn about your charitable organization, the nature of their operations and how they use your money before donating. Please consider the following organizations:

* Anchorage Childrens home

* Salvation Army

* Catholic Charities

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