Panama City native collecting donations for Hurricane Michael victims

MADISON, Ala. -- People are still trying to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Michael which made landfall October 10.  The confirmed number of lives lost stands at 17. Thousands of people are still without power, and entire communities have been destroyed.

A Tennessee Valley woman has been glued to the news looking for updates about Panama City. It's an area she knows well and feels helpless, but she won't be feeling that way much longer.

"It's been tough," Kriss Emmons Rudder said.

Toilet paper, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, and water are all things people take for granted every day until they have lost everything. Rudder is asking for the community's help as she gathers supplies to take to those affected area later this week.

A community underwater, but for the Madison resident, there is not enough storm surge in the world to wash away the love for her hometown and the people in it.

Rudder just went home to visit her friends in November.

"We went out and had dinner and we laughed until we cried," she said.

As she goes through pictures from her trip, she's almost brought to tears again for a very different reason.

"These are people I have known since I was a kid, and they now have no homes," Rudder cried out.

She says she can't sit by and just watch as Panama City works to rebuild.

"Heartbreaking that you can't be there to help. So, we decided that we were going to do whatever we could to make their lives a little bit easier," she explained.

Her childhood friend is a pastor. She is partnering with him to bring a trailer of supplies for people affected by the hurricane.

"Well, there's probably not anything that they don't need. I know people are running generators so we need gas cans," Harvest Worship Center Pastor John Ramsey said.

People have already started to bring supplies to her business. She says the donations are more than just a helping hand. They're a ray of hope to show this community that even though the clouds have parted they will not be weathering this storm alone.