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Panama City Rescue Mission Charity Profile
Panama City Rescue Mission is a privately funded, nonprofit 501©(3) organization. It receives no city, county, state or federal funding and is not currently an affiliated agency of the United Way (however, United Way contributors can designate their donations to the Mission). All funding comes from grants, foundations, businesses, churches, and members of the community, plus proceeds from The Bargain Center and other work training/ enterprise programs.History of the Panama City Rescue Mission
Since 1972 the Panama City Rescue Mission has provided thousands of nights of shelter, more than 1 million meals and the basic needs of everyday life. The Mission is best known for its immediate needs program. However, recovery is where the most positive, permanent impact on the lives of homeless people and the community is seen.
The Mission officially opened its doors in April 1972 in the Bay Hotel Building, which was 100 years old and located at 27 East Beach Drive (where the First Federal Bank parking lot is located now). Food, housing and chapel services were provided.
In 1975 Rev. Joe O’Daniel from Montgomery, Ala, arrived to serve as the Executive Director.
O’Daniel offered a 3-day emergency shelter or 90-day recovery program. The need for additional space and housing for an increasing homeless population during the 1980’s led to the building of the current location at 609 Allen Avenue in 1985.
1984 Seymore’s Electric at 501 East 6th Street was purchased from Holden Harders, who provided a loan for the building. Eventually Harders forgave the loan so all contributions could be used for ministry.
In 2001, the Board hired Thurman Chambers, who had served Missions in Atlanta, Ga, and Jacksonville, Fl, to serve as Executive Director after Mr. O'Daniel passed away.
Chambers organized the first long-term Christian recovery program, “Power to Choose,” and opened longer-term transitional beds, introducing a mix of specialized services to assist individual needs.
The Mission opened the Thrift Depot in the 515 East 6th Street location as an emergency clothing center and The Bargain Center as its first retail thrift store at 401 East 6th Street to assist in generating self-sustaining revenues for the programs.
In May 2004, Chambers and the Board of Directors purchased a 6-acre property on Transmitter Road that would become Bethel Village, a home for women and children.
Rev. Billy Fox was chosen in 2005 to serve as Executive Director. After a few months in office, the tragic Hurricane Katrina affected our neighbors to the west in Louisiana and Mississippi. Fox led the effort to provide material relief in the form of food and household goods by opening the temporary "Katrina Free Store" and catering to evacuees in Bay County.
That summer, the Mission began an outreach program for homeless and needy children, providing school uniforms and school supplies. In its first two years, Klothes for Kids served more than 1,500 kids.
In September 2005, the Mission officially opened the doors to the Homeless Day Resource Center in the former Thrift Depot location at 515 E 6th St. The center represents a community collaboration among Hunger and Homeless Coalition agencies bringing a variety of human services to one central location on the Mission's campus.
In the Spring of 2006, renovations to Bethel Village were completed with the help of Stalnaker Construction and other area businesses. The improvements expanded capacity from 7 to 23 students/children.
Panama City Rescue Mission Volunteer Information
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES: Hand out flyers in community prior to event, assist with providing, preparing and serving of meal each night, set up and break down of chairs and equipment, greeting and ushering guests, prayer team and music ministry.