The Christmas season is all about giving. But for some of those who lost everything in Hurricane Michael, Christmas won’t be the same.
To help relieve those families in need, a few local businesses and restaurants are working together to spread some Christmas cheer.
On Dec. 15, the Boathouse Oyster Bar will be hosting a charity event called “Dock the Halls” to raise money and collect gifts for families displaced by Hurricane Michael.
Similar to the Boathouse’s “Half K,” participants will visit various businesses and restaurants on the harbor, such as AJ’s, the Big Red Grill and Soulfish Art, to complete a task and earn a stamp on their map. There will also be multiple raffles, a 50/50 raffle and a silent auction. All proceeds earned at the event will go towards relief efforts.
Becca Russell, owner of Soulfish Art, started it all will a simple text.
“There wasn’t even a hesitation,” she said in an email to The Log. “Once I saw the devastation, even in those first few hours, I said we need to do something. So I messaged Missy (of the Boathouse Oyster Bar). I simply said ‘We need to do something, don’t know what, but we do. Are you in?’ She said yes.”
By their third meeting, representatives from businesses in the area and on the harbor had agreed to pitch in.
“I may have started the conversation, Missy and I may have come up with the idea, but as a group — all these amazing, wonderful fellow business owners and go getters — we have really surpassed any expectations I had,” Russell said. “Very proud to be part of this and working along side all of these people.”
During their “Turkey Trot” on Nov. 17, the Boathouse introduced the idea to the community. During the Dock the Halls event, gifts and donations will be collected to be delivered to families in need in Panama City, Lynn Haven and Mexico Beach.
“Even if you can’t take part in the event, this will be an all day thing, come out, donate,” Russell said. “Our number one goal is to give these kids a Christmas.”
The event has currently “adopted” ten families but are still looking for more to add to their list. To nominate a family, visit the Boathouse Oyster Bar’s website.
“I don’t have much to give but I have a giving heart,” said Russell. “Growing up here, even just living here, you know how easily Mother Nature can change your plans … When you come from a small town you learn you need each other. We’re just extending what we do a little to the east.”
The race costs $30 to enter, which includes a T-shirt, sticker, raffle tickets and a drink ticket. If you donate a 20-pound bag of dog or cat food or pay an extra $20 plus a toy donation, participants can get three extra drink tickets to the Boathouse.
For more information or to sign up for the event, visit the Dock the Halls Facebook page.