Local restaurant collecting supplies to send to hurricane victims

Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 6:29 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - As residents who were in the path of Hurricane Ian begin to rebuild, now is when they need support the most. Communities across the country are coming together to help those impacted, including our own.

Dat Cajun Place restaurant in Panama City Beach has teamed up with Comeback Coolers to send supplies to hurricane victims, but they need the community’s help.

They are asking the public to donate coolers, any kind of drinks, and wet wipes.

They will be collecting the supplies until the evening of October 5th, before it is packed up and sent to south and central Florida.

The coolers are decorated with heartfelt messages, and co-owner of Dat Cajun Place Trudy White said while the supplies are needed, it’s the messages that truly mean the most.

“They get their cooler and there’s inspirational messages written by kids, people, our staff is going to be decorating a bunch of them here,” White said. “A lot of people will keep those coolers forever.”

White said the cycle of support just keeps on going.

“A lot of them will also, next time there is a disaster, they’ll fill them them back up and donate them back to the next person. They say comeback coolers because they keep coming back... and people re-use the coolers over and over again.”

Comeback Coolers is an organization aimed to provide “a much-needed and deserved break to those who have been in the path of a natural disaster”, according to their website.

White is no stranger to having a natural disaster uproot life.

“We’re here in Florida because of Hurricane Katrina. We moved here 17 years ago after Hurricane Katrina,” White said. “And it was very emotional when [Hurricane Michael] hit Louisiana because we actually delivered a lot of coolers to my friends and family there that had their homes destroyed.”

According to the Comeback Coolers website, 500 coolers were delivered to the Panama City area after Hurricane Michael struck in 2018.

Now, it’s our time to give back.

“Their faces when you pull up with an ice chest full of ice-cold drinks... you, know, it just gives them a little bit of relief from their struggles,” White said.

Coming together to help those who are struggling, like many did when we needed it most.