Recent hurricanes could affect donations to local charities

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Local charities desperate for your dollar may not see as many donations coming in for the holidays.

Hurricane Nate skirted by our area of the Panhandle last week, but anticipating its arrival many area events were canceled.

"It never ever crossed our minds," Andre Boyd, President of the Rotary Club of Panama City Beach.

Organizers of the Grills Gone Wild event say they never expected to be added to the list of casualties.

"There's been all the hurricanes, tropical storms, everything and even though the storm did not hit us directly it impacted us directly," Boyd said.

A lack of sponsors led organizers to cancel this year. Sponsors who are likely sending their money toward hurricane relief efforts.

"People were signing up, maybe not at the levels they were in previous years," Boyd explained. "So we're starting to see that impact and that there's some businesses that just cannot support it this year because of pure economics."

Last year Grills Gone Wild brought in nearly $40,000 for 30 different charities, but this year those charities may go without.

"That's to be expected during a large crisis like what we've had with the past few hurricanes that both Texas and Florida as well as Puerto Rico have experienced," Lisa Nixon Mabry, Communications Coordinator for the Panama City Rescue Mission said.

For many charities, this time of year is a season for giving, but this year some organizations may see their holiday stockings empty, or at least not as full.

"We have a lot of need as people have increased unemployment and increased financial need," Mabry said. "We don't necessarily have more people in the community to help pick up that slack."

Some of the charities Grills Gone Wild gives money to include Food For Kidz, Second Chance of Northwest Florida, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida.