Homeless Take Shelter at PC Rescue Mission


PANAMA CITY - In year's past, the Panama City Rescue Mission had a program to help the homeless survive winter weather.

Cold freezing nights meant local volunteers hitting the streets to help the homeless.

For "Operation Warm Heart," Panama City Rescue Mission workers loaded a truck with supplies, then patrolled the downtown area looking for homeless people.

Those who wanted to get in out of the cold would go to the mission.

Those who preferred to stay outside got a blanket and some hot coffee.

That was a little more than 3 years ago.

The Rescue Mission staged it's last Operation Warm Heart in December 2011.

Now the mission concentrates on other homeless services.

"In replacement somewhat of that, we're offering so many more long-term programs that can really offer a long-term change, instead of just the day, to offer real hope," said Taylor Muma, Panama City Rescue Mission.

Many say they prefer the mission to the streets, no matter what the weather's like outside.

"I mean if it wasn't for this place I'd be out in the woods somewhere. Nowhere else I can go," said Joe Hillford, Rescue Mission Client.

Besides a roof over their heads, the mission also offers the homeless 3 hot meals a day, and an opportunity to improve their lives.

Muma said, "We have jobs programs. Programs tailored toward veterans, disability, programs for women, long term addiction recovery. We really want to help you make a long term sustainable life change."

The Panama City Rescue Mission houses about 50 people a night during the winter months.


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