P.E.S.T. Relief International Brings REST through Disaster Relief

On October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida. This devastating category 4 storm was the strongest hurricane to hit the Florida Panhandle in recorded history. Directly in the path of Michael, The Taunton Family Children’s Home in Wewahitchka, Florida incurred damages that included over 200 fallen trees and a flooded bunkhouse, which destroyed 12 mattresses.

On December 6, PEST Relief International loaded up a trailer full of food, supplies, and chainsaws and headed down to The Taunton Family Children’s Home. Combining disaster relief with a REST Initiative, we picked up 12 mattresses along the way that were donated by Ashley Furniture’s Hope to Dream Program.

Upon arrival we were greeted by 33 smiling faces and open arms. We quickly went to work removing storm debris and serving the residents of The Taunton Family Children’s Home. During our visit, we provided 179 meals, distributed blankets and Buddy Bags, painted fingernails and toes, played basketball, and handed out 26 bibles with personal inscriptions for each child. 

The destroyed mattresses were replaced with brand-new mattresses, and all beds received new sheets, bedding, and mattress encasements to provide a safe and sanitary place to sleep. The chainsaw crew was able to remove 50 of the remaining trees making the grounds much safer for everyone.

Later that night, a campfire with s’mores hit the spot after a hard day’s work. We wished the children well as they returned to their homes to sleep in their clean and comfy beds.

This experience not only impacted the residents of The Taunton Family Children’s Home, but also the volunteers who dedicated their time and resources to bring comfort and relief.

Special thanks to our volunteers and donors who made this initiative possible:

Glenda Lehmberg and Maria Collins  
Marty and Cindy Jones  
Greg and Jessica Olliff  
Thomas Burnsad and Adam Matthews  
Dereck Pumphrey  
Hope Connolly  
Zach Simmons  
Andrea, Jeff, and David Hancock
Michael McDonald
Mike Joyce  
Gary Moore  
Ashley Furniture 
Mattress Safe, Inc.