One local woman opened her restaurant to those in need, particularly, individuals under evacuation orders over the weekend.
Owner of Angel's Buffet, 1601 Main St., Tina "Angel" Belcher, of Chipley, took her food service business to the next level by providing free meals, valued at about $10 each, to 86 people fleeing Hurricane Irma since Thursday. She says she opened her restaurant during non-operational hours in order to provide breakfast as well.
"Several of them were surprised and a couple of them were crying and say they had never had anyone to do anything like that," Belcher said. "It is a ministry. My mother used to do the same thing -- she would feed people in need."
Her humble help was received by a number of evacuees, including Maria, of Miami, who left Miami with her friends and family. The group stayed at Red Roof Inn, next to the restaurant, during the days of evacuation.
"We're hungry, we have no food, no snacks, nothing, we're hungry," said Maria, who requested not to be identified by her last name, regarding children who left a vehicle of a family looking for lodging at the neighboring hotel.
"This lady comes out and says everybody, no charging -- can you believe that," Maria said.
According to Belcher, it's something she does regularly, often times for veterans, homeless people and the elderly. Her restaurant funds a number of community-service programs she runs.
For Belcher, who says she has had temporary custody of 269 children over the past 28 years, opening her restaurant to freely give meals to people evacuees was natural to her.
"A lot of people don't understand" the circumstance of being in need, she said Monday evening at her restaurant, "to have people that will care about you."
The same evening, she sat at a booth across from a table where her recently adopted son Maurice Anderson, 17, of Vero Beach, Fla., sat, listening to his new mother reveal the amount of heart it takes to help others.
"If she sees someone walking ... she gives them a little money and some food to take with them," Anderson said.
"It's real good," he added. "It's a nice thing."
If you would like to support Belcher's efforts -- providing meals to veterans, elderly, homeless or to support her youth program Youth in Action with A Purpose -- contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (850)260-6674.