Save The Closet gets a helping hand to help Hurricane Ian survivors



PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – Numerous begging relief efforts have traveled to Southwest Florida to aid those affected by Hurricane Ian; from pantries to first responders. But there is a basic need that some may not think of.

Two local nonprofits are teaming up to ensure storm survivors have clean clothes.

The two organizations save the closet and Rachal Recovery Relief, began almost immediately after Hurricane Michael hit our area. Since then, they have been providing resources and relief to people affected by natural disasters.

“It’s so easy for us to help, we know exactly what to do,” said Rachal Smoker, founder of Rachal’s Recovery Relief. “We can go to these areas and give our time, give our energy and share our knowledge with all that we have been through.”

Katy Lingle Pinson, founder and executive director of Save The Closet, told NewsChannel 7 the support was needed, and will be for some time.

“It takes money, it takes time and it takes effort,” Pinson said. “It will not be resolved in two weeks. As we know, we are always rebuilding. It’s worse there.

Volunteers spend the week organizing, folding and hanging clothes before taking them to South Florida on Thursday.

The volunteers said it’s been worth it to see the impacts they have on people’s lives.

“We brought in a man. He was dirty from head to toe. One of our ladies helped him get an outfit,” said Save The Closet volunteer Cynthia Cordell. “He wanted to give back and help us pay for it as well. These are the stories we do this for.

But it’s not just clothes they need. More volunteers, monetary donations and other items like suitcases and hangers are requested for this trip.

If you would like to donate items to assist with the Hurricane Ian Save The Closet recovery mission, you can drop off donations or show up to volunteer at the Panama City Beach location Monday through Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Items requested include pop-up tents or awnings, suitcases or wheeled bags, hangers and other bags. They also ask for plus size clothing, men’s clothing and children’s clothing. You can visit their Amazon Wish List to see other necessary items.

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