On October 10th, 2018, Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle leaving a level of devastation and destruction never before seen by the state. Michael was the strongest hurricane to ever make landfall in the Florida panhandle and was the third strongest storm in U.S. history. The storm had its most dramatic impact on the small coastal town of Mexico Beach, in Bay County, Florida. The storm leveled everything in its path, the homes and businesses that made up this vibrant community are gone, leaving many with nothing to return to.
The Never Forgotten Coast campaign was started a few days after the storm hit. The team designed a logo for their project and began selling merch both online and through local pop-up shops to raise funds for the recovery efforts. They also captured the stories of Mexico Beach and put faces to the city that has been a home and a destination for people all over the world.
The funds raised by the Never Forgotten Coast campaign so far have used to provide micro-grants for small businesses in Mexico Beach to help cover what insurance will not. Our goal is to help the local economy get back up and running so that locals can get back to work and return to their normal lives. If we can provide opportunities to shop, eat and do business, then we can speed up the rebuilding process and help the community recover. Even something seemingly small, like a micro-grant, can have a significant impact on the region's economic recovery. Mexico Beach is filled with character and they have the grit and determination to rebuild better than before.
It has almost been a year since the Category 5 storm made landfall and since launching the campaign, we have given away more than $40,000 in grants to local businesses, many of whom have already opened their doors. Progress has been made, but Mexico Beach is currently only running at less than 30% of its pre-Michael economic state and the road to recovery is long.
Join us as we continue to help rebuild and revitalize this incredible community and ensure Mexico Beach is never forgotten.
- Jeffrey Mandel
- Dell Cates
- D Gregory
- Ben Dowell