Two organizations, one goal: helping the homeless population

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - "I was displaced from my home," said shelter resident Martha Sechrist.

The St. Joe Community Foundation donated $25,000 to Panama City Rescue Mission's Bethel Village. (WJHG/WECP)

Sechrist has been living at Panama City Rescue Mission's Bethel Village for five months.

"This is a blessing for me God sent," said Sechrist.

She's one of about 40 homeless women and children currently living there.

President and CEO of Panama City Rescue Mission, Stephen Fett, said he hopes Sechrist is just one of many more people he can help find refuge for.

"Everything that we do is to be a blessing to others, and to be of service in ways that help people to recover from adversity of not just the storm but addiction, or homelessness," said Fett.

To help keep more women and children off the streets, the St. Joe Community Foundation just donated $25,000 to Bethel Village, helping them expand their reach.

"$25,000 will allow us to add up to 50 new beds," said Fett.

The money will also allow them to make some upgrades to the kitchen and dining room because Fett said the need for shelters is evident.

"Over 2,000 kids in Bay District Schools that are considered homeless, if the kids are homeless, the parents are homeless and we are doing our part to expand and accommodate," said Fett.

For those like Sechrist, living at Bethel Village is not only something that's changed her life, but it's taught her about giving back once she rebounds.

"When I can finally get myself stable enough to be able to get on my own, you know get back to working and get on my feet, I'm gonna move out but I gonna continue to come here and help out," said Sechrist.

As Thanksgiving kicks off the giving season, PCRM is inviting anyone in need to join them for a Thanksgiving meal at Rosenwald High School.

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