Local woman starts nonprofit after Hurricane Michael

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG) - Many non-profit organizations came to our area to help after Hurricane Michael. In this week's Everyday Heroes, we introduce you to a local woman who started her own non-profit right after the hurricane to help the community.

This Everyday Hero plans to continue helping the community, providing much-needed relief and recovery. (WJHG)

"This is a marathon, not a sprint. It's going to take a long time to get people back on their feet and I'll be here through the thick of it," President of Rachal's Recovery Relief, Rachal Smoker said.

Rachal Smoker has lived in Panama City Beach her whole life. After Hurricane Michael left the place she's called home devastated, she started Rachal's Recovery Relief with one goal in mind.

"To help as many people as I can," Smoker said.

Donations have come from near and far, with monetary donations alone totaling over $40,000, giving Smoker the opportunity to help thousands of people.

"I've tarped roofs, I've fed people, I've clothed people, provided for utilities bills, helped move people back into their apartments," Smoker said.

Two days a week, Smoker volunteers at Trinity Lutheran Church's Food Pantry, a free food bank where every Wednesday thousands of people are served.

"We always say God sent her to us because it's been a ten-fold friendship, she brings in food and she introduces us to other people that do donations," Director of Trinity Lutheran Church's Food Pantry, Tammy Wilson said.

Everything she's done for the community has been through word of mouth and social media.

"It kind of spread like wildfire and that's pretty much how I get everything done," Smoker said.

That's how the First Lady of Florida, Casey DeSantis, found Smoker and honored her with a medal for courage, commitment, and service.

"It means a lot, it really does. My perspective on life has changed since October 10th. Material things don't matter, helping people does," Smoker said.

This Everyday Hero plans to continue helping the community, providing much-needed relief and recovery.

Contact the Trinity Lutheran Food Pantry at (850)-774-7286.
Food is distributed every Wednesday.

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