Locals team up to feed storm victims
After seeing the devastation of Hurricane Michael first hand in Fountain, Fla., Jared and Crystal Day set out to do some good by providing hot meals for 900 people.
“We went down last weekend to Fountain with Andalusia Ford and saw just how many people were in bad shape,” Day said. “Everybody hears about all of these bigger cities like Panama City getting a lot of help, but nobody remembers the smaller towns.”
Day said that he heard a lot of people in bigger cities were getting turned away if they tried to hand out food.
“In the bigger cities they were having a lot of problems with the health department and saying that they had to have a health license from Florida to be handing out food,” Day said. “Well Bill [Spurlin] owns a David’s Catfish in Crestview so we were OK there and really wanted to do something good.”
Day said that the people in Fountain only wanted two things, water and hot food.
“There was only one other group that came down that week and served food,” Day said. “One guy said that he could smell the smoke from a mile away and drove to where we were so he could get a hot meal. That is all they want, something to eat and drink.”
Every person on the team either works at David’s Catfish or has been a former employee.
“We have been in the restaurant business for 20 years,” Day said. “So we figured we would go down there and feed some people. We loaded up 900 to go boxes and we came back with nothing left.”
Day said that the people in Fountain have been without power for three weeks and that they probably won’t get the power turned on until December. He also said that he is amazed by the passion and empathy that the people in the community have for each other.
“One person might have gotten one box and then one person might have gotten 10 to 12,” Day said. “They would take that many so they could give it to people who can’t travel or the elderly. It was amazing to see people who are still in the community and may have lost something, still provide for their community.”
Day said that none of what they did would have been possible without the help of Andalusia Ford.
“Andalusia Ford helped us out tremendously,” Day said. “They let us use their trailer to haul about 95 percent of the stuff that we brought. They have been excellent and honestly we couldn’t have done it without them.”
Along with Andalusia Ford, the Pepsi Company out of Luverne donated 900 bottles of tea, Bill Spurlin donated food, the U.S. Food Service donated 600 hamburger buns, Eric Shortz from Flowers Distribution donated 640 buns, Jeff Jones from Crest Supply in Crestview donated the to go boxes and Jones himself donated $10,000 of paper goods and food and Donnie Register from U.S. Foods personally bought the meat for the meal.
“It was honestly a huge group effort,” Day said. “If we can make it happen, we will gladly go again. I think it helps not only the people in Fountain, but the people that go because it gives us a little perspective about how bad it could actually be.”