DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — Non-profits in Northwest Florida are seeing an increase in people that need help for this holiday season.

Harvest House, a thrift store and food pantry in Destin said they served 97 Thanksgiving meals this year, more than ever before.

“It’s been a challenge getting our hands on the quantities of food that we need,” said Executive Director Lori Joyner. “Even right now downstairs we have several new families coming in, so the need is definitely going to be a lot greater.”

Going into the Christmas Season, Joyner said they need food donations and monetary donations to help keep the pantry stocked.

“We definitely need food in the food pantry,” said Joyner. “We’re working on making our Christmas dinners, so there are different items that we put in there.”

The 35-year non-profit serves Destin to Mack Bayou Rd in Miramar Beach. Christmas meal pick-up will be on Dec. 14 from 9:30 am to 2:00 pm. Those needing meals can call or go up to the store to be put on the list.

Harvest House will be closed from Dec. 17 through Jan. 1, 2023. After the holiday break, they will need help replenishing the store. A Facebook Advent Challenge is underway to get locals in the giving mood.

Joyner said Giving Tuesday and the holiday season are all about helping others.

“Everybody has to give because if there weren’t the givers out there, these nonprofits that you see all over our area, we wouldn’t be here,” said Joyner. “We do rely on people with generous hearts to come to give so we can continue to give back to our community and make a stronger community.”

One Hopeful Place in Fort Walton Beach serves as a homeless shelter. This year, they say more women are coming in seeking shelter and help.

“We seem to have more ladies calling for beds now than we’ve had before and we are expanding the Lady shelter,” said on-site manager Donna Morgan. “We can hold 11 ladies and we stay full with a waitlist. We are adding eight additional beds.”

The shelter at Percy L. Coleman Rd added 48 new beds this year. With that comes an increase in daily needs.

“Our greatest need really is some non-perishable canned goods, cleaning products, real silverware. We need twin sheets and just bottom sheets would work, and pillows,” said Morgan.

Morgan said they do see an increase in people giving over the holidays, but they don’t have storage for everything brought in.

“I have no storage space for clothes,” said Morgan. “So what we do is we ask people to take it to Goodwill and donate under One Hopeful Place. They give me vouchers for people that need additional clothing or anything when they come in.”

One Hopeful Place offers a day program three times a week for those that need showers, laundry, and a hot meal.

Morgan said the housing environment in the area needs to change in order to help these people get a better grip on life.

“Some of these people could probably be housed, it’s just that right now housing is very limited,” said Morgan. “But that’s our biggest need for the people that are here but opening up these beds as people move in and out would help more people be able to come in and get off the streets.”

Ways to give:

Harvest House

  • Give online
  • Mail donations to 300 Mountain Dr or PO Box 372 in Destin, Fla.

One Hopeful Place

  • Call 850-376-5386 to talk about things to donate