Panama City Rescue Mission Helps Bay County Kids

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School isn't even out for the summer here in Bay County, but Panama City Beach Rescue Mission officials are already looking ahead to the fall.

They're hoping to collect 6,000 items of clothing by mid-August for their Klothes for Kids event.

Panama City Beach Rescue Mission volunteers kicked off their 10th annual Klothes for Kids event Tuesday morning.

For the next few months they will be collecting clothes, shoes and school supplies to outfit about 1,000 local students.

"There is a great need in Bay County. There are many children who don't have clothes to wear the first day of school and they stand out," volunteer Gail Camperman for the Panama City Rescue Mission said.

Mission volunteers are asking residents to bring in their donations to the bargain store at the main mission facility.

"The people in Bay County are pretty giving. That has been proven out through the years. As I said the first year covered this there were 426 kids, now we are up to 1,000, sometimes 1,100 and their needs are being met."

Clothing isn't the only need for these children. Many are on free or reduced cost school lunches. During the summer they sometimes go without food.

Another local organization is making sure those children get at least one nutritious meal a day.

"It is so important for the welfare of the child, not only the day to day existence but his outcome in life. If he is not well fed and well nourished during his younger years, or her younger years, they won't grow up to become productive citizens," Paul Mosca of Bay County Boys and Girls Club said.

The Boys and Girls Club feeds students between 45,000 and 50,000 meals during the summer.