Ohio pastor and group of students help local organization rebuild fence

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Safety is a big concern for many recovering from Hurricane Michael, including the Panama City Rescue Mission.

"Right now we are focused on rebuilding our mission, we have about $300,000 in damages," said Chief Development Officer Shawnte Williams. "Due to the city being in a rebuilding phase a lot of contractors are already booked."

According to Williams, the organization is helping more people in need of their services since the storm.

"Since Hurricane Michael, we've been helping an additional 30 individuals each night," said Williams. "We've made space and served additional meals, right now we're up to 242 meals a day."

Bob Gardner, the pastor at A Fresh Wind Church in Ohio and a group of students traveled to the Panama City Rescue Mission to help rebuild their fence, which the hurricane destroyed.

The fence is around 400 feet long. Gardner said that they normally come out during the Summer with all the students to help out the Panama City Rescue Mission, but when they saw the damage from Hurricane Michael they decided to come early.

"We love working here. Every time we come down we find something to do to help here," said Gardner. "So that was the first place we called after the hurricane and they said, 'Yeah, we need some help,' so we knew what we were going to do."

The project took the group a week to finish and the Panama City Rescue Mission managers said it will save them around $20,000.

"I know it's over New Year's Eve, not a lot of college kids want to do that. They want to party, but this is the time to serve my Lord and help other people out," said University of Toledo student Colin Pawlowski.

The group also helped remove debris and cook meals.

Gardner said he and another group of students will be back again this summer to continue helping the Rescue Mission recover from the storm.