PANAMA CITY — A Panama City Beach real estate company recently donated $50,000 to a local nonprofit to help area residents recover from Hurricane Michael.
Counts Real Estate, which has locations in PCB, Panama City and Santa Rosa Beach, donated the money to Rachel Recovery Relief in Bay County. Rachal Smokers, founder of Rachal Recovery Relief, started the foundation to help those in need of essentials after the Category 5 hurricane in 2018.
Counts' $50,000 is the largest donation the foundation has received in more than a year. Most of 2020 has been difficult for nonprofits because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Throwing a pandemic on top of trying to recover after a hurricane has been difficult," Smoker said. "Donations are very, very far down compared to what we were able to do last year."
Counts' donation will be used to help struggling residents with such things as power bills and last-minute Christmas presents for children. Smoker said Rachal Recovery Relief also will help other local organizations whose donations are way down.
The struggles for families in Bay County have compounded with COVID-19 after Michael. Smoker noted a lot of people still are trying to rebuild their homes or trying to move to new homes.
Steve Counts, president of Counts Real Estate, said Smoker's actions since the hurricane made it an easy decision for his company to donate to her cause.
"We've been watching Rachal since the hurricane and she's just been amazing," Counts said. "She's just always out there finding the needs and identifying them. We felt like she would be a good steward of our money."
Smoker urged people to be aware of what others are going through right now and to spread love and kindness.
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