The warmer months help us forget the previous seasons until, like melted frost on a summer day, they are out of sight and far out of mind. But hurricane seasons like that of 2018 leave a lasting impact on our hearts and, in the case of the Florida panhandle, our communities.

Those of us in the area stand with our coastal cousins in the wake of Hurricane Michael and have supported disaster relief efforts since October 11, when he came ashore. Because we know what’s best for the Forgotten Coast is best for everyone living here year-round or just making it their home away from home.

Fortunately, St. George Island — and nearby communities like Apalachicola, Eastpoint and Carrabelle — were spared a majority of Michael’s wrath. The damaged roads, including U.S. 98, have been repaired, allowing access from the north, east and west, and the last of the debris has been cleared. And now that spring has sprung and the water temperatures are headed into the 70s and 80s, it’s the perfect time to rediscover the jewel of the Forgotten Coast.

St. George Island State Park—with its 2,000 magnificent acres—is once again open, and the charter boat captains are gassed up and running fishing tours multiple times a day. And all of the island’s outfitters have kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, bikes, and golf carts ready for rental.

And a huge positive to come out of Hurricane Michael’s churning of the Gulf waters has been the bounty of seashells that can be found for miles along the island’s southern shore. So, in addition to the sandy white beaches, natural souvenirs abound for collectors who want a few spectacular mementos of their trip to a true paradise the hurricane couldn’t tarnish.

The Forgotten Coast will never be the same after Hurricane Michael.

That much we know to be true, because when the third most-powerful hurricane to ever hit the U.S. came ashore on Oct. 10, it eviscerated entire areas, including Mexico Beach, which was nearly destroyed. At least 35 people lost their lives in Florida alone, with 10 more perishing in Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia when it moved northeast.

But one thing those of us who live on, and visit, the Forgotten Coast have always known is that we take care of our own. And there is no shortage of need, so when someone asks, “How can I help?” the goal is to always have an answer.

Donations are the fastest, and easiest way to get help to those in need and there are several trusted organizations accepting contributions and serving families in the hardest-hit areas. All accept donations via phone or web. Participating organizations include:

Red Cross: https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-michael-donations.html/

Salvation Army: https://give.helpsalvationarmy.org/give/166081/#!/donation/checkout

Samaritan’s Purse: https://www.samaritanspurse.org/article/hurricane-michael-barrels-toward-florida-panhandle-please-pray/

Franklin’s Promise Coalition: https://franklinspromisecoalition.wildapricot.org/Make-a-Donation

Americares: https://www.americares.org/

Global Giving: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/hurricane-michael-relief-fund/

Volunteer Florida: https://www.volunteerflorida.org/emergency-management/#partners

 

For locals, who are in driving distance of donation drop-off locations, the items universally needed across the coast are:

  • diapers
  • paper towels
  • toilet paper
  • latex gloves
  • coolers
  • gas cans
  • box fans
  • tarps
  • batteries
  • bottled water
  • hand sanitizer
  • deodorant
  • personal hygiene items
  • first aid kits
  • baby wipes
  • batteries
  • flashlights
  • manual can openers
  • non-perishable, canned food including canned tuna, chicken or salmon, meals in a can (soup, stew, chili), and canned fruit in its own juice or water. Those with pop-up lids are best.

PointCentral: Smart Home Upgrades for Vacation Rentals on St. George

 On St. George Island, we’re excited to have partnered with PointCentral, a leading provider of smart home solutions that offer improved efficiency and security for vacation rentals.

Remote door lock controls, tracked access, and constantly-monitored HVAC systems are just a few of the benefits that the PointCentral partnership offers RVP property owners. Below are just some of the highlights of this new system.

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We believe that choosing a professional vacation rental management company to successfully manage your home should be straightforward. Discovering an organization that is attentive to one of your largest assets, who is accountable for meeting your expectations and who fairly and timely communicates with you is essential. Read more