Local clothing drive for hurricane victims vandalized

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Katy Lingle Pinson started a clothing drive to help Hurricane Michael victims get new wardrobes.

"We want to call it Donations with Dignity," she said.

Instead of the usual clothing drive, Pinson and volunteers are taking donations, putting them on racks and loading them up in a trailer that they will soon be driving around impacted neighborhoods. That way, those in need can come out and pick what they like when the trailer visits their area.

It's like a free shopping mall on wheels.

"Rather than throwing a garbage bag full of women's mediums at somebody, let them try it on, make sure they want it and will wear it. That's giving them what they actually need," Pinson said.

However, over the weekend, the location where the clothes were being stored was vandalized.

"One of the trailer doors was open, stuff was just out in the parking lot and it was just all soaked," Pinson said.

The vandalism delayed their timeline to hit the road.

"That day was supposed to be the day we got it on the road and instead of being able to do that, we had to deal with all the wet clothes, take them, wash them, clean them, all that stuff," Pinson said.

That's when volunteers came together to wash the damaged clothing to get it back on the racks.

"A lot of nice, kind people decided to take a load home to throw in their laundry rooms to clean," clothing drive volunteer Megghan McDougall said.

Volunteers are working on getting everything back in order and plan on rolling out Wednesday, with another voyage Sunday.

"Long term, we would love to one day be able to respond to other disasters in other places like we have here to our friends and family in the Gulf Coast," McDougall.

If you're interested in donating, you can take items to Emerald Coast Fabrication on Back Beach Road from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

If you're interested in locating the traveling closet to receive donations, follow or message the "Save the Closet" Facebook page.