PANAMA CITY, Florida – With his wife Bobbie beside him, Ric Brigman told the story that moved everyone to tears. When a single mom entered Food4Kidz on Panama City Beach with her three children, one of the daughters immediately went to a rack of bread. She picked up a loaf, cradled it like a doll and said, “I’m going to sleep with this tonight.” That’s the reason they founded their organization nearly five years ago
“No child should ever go hungry,” said Brigman, executive director of the nonprofit organization. “We serve on the front lines of hunger and our mission is to eradicate hunger in our own backyard of Bay County. People would be surprised at the number of children who go hungry every night.”
Food4Kidz was one of three local nonprofit organizations recognized Monday by Gulf Power for their commitment to better the community they. Each organization received an award and a $2,500 grant.
The Bellamy Hines Bautista Corporation and Global Arts Society rounded out the trio of organizations that “may be small in size, but have a big mission in the community,” according to Stan Connally, Chairman, President and CEO of Gulf Power.
“This is our opportunity to publicly acknowledge the people who may go unnoticed but serve a vital role in trying to solve important issues in their communities,” said Connally. “Each of these organizations serve, volunteer and are dedicated to public service. We are proud to be able to celebrate groups like these who remind us how important it is to serve others.”
Gulf Power employees nominated the nonprofits, looking for groups that support minorities and underrepresented populations. This year, eight organizations were nominated that were deserving of the recognition.
“Our employees live and work in our communities, and we raise our families here,” added Connally. “All of these organizations are deserving. Collectively they do great things for the communities and help lift them up. We are proud to be invested in the communities we serve.”
Representative Jay Trumbull (R-6th District) acknowledged the group with special certificates of appreciation, and said each group lives for service and puts “the emphasis on community.”
“Thank you for your spirit and accomplishing great things in the community,” said Trumbull.
Food4kidz stocks a full-service food bank that includes meats, fresh produce, breads, dairy items, canned and packaged goods. The primary focus is to provide free groceries and supplies to struggling families with children. Groceries are distributed via appointment in a private, confidential manner in order to protect the dignity of the families served.
Global Arts Society is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Panama City that began in 2006. Their mission is to help teach children, teens and adults how to be creative through the visual and performing arts. Using the arts as a medium, they aim to educate, serve, bring awareness, and give voice to underserved communities and causes.
Founded in Panama City in 2013, Bellamy Hines Bautista Corporation is a nonprofit organization that is in the process of establishing a community-wide, free, after-school tutoring program for all middle and high school students enrolled in Bay County. The organization is also has plans to provide a strong mentoring program for young men.
Gulf Power started the Power of Service awards in 2012 as a way to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of service, and recognizes organizations that are dedicated to improving the lives of others. Since the inception of the award program, 41 organizations in Northwest Florida have been recognized and awarded more than $102,000 in grants from Gulf Power.
Gulf Power hands out Power of Service Awards (Panama City News Herald)
Gulf Power recognizes local organizations for contributions to community with award ceremony (WMBB Channel 13, Panama City)