PANAMA CITY — Similar to what they’ve done for other schools, the L.H. Bead Gallery in downtown Panama City is raising money for Rutherford High after Hurricane Michael through custom 850 Strong charms.
The bead shop on Harrison Avenue wants to reach a $6,000 goal for Rutherford before the end of the school year. So far, they have raised over $4,000 to help faculty, staff and students affected by the October storm.
“We think it’s a great fundraiser,” said gallery owner Lisa Hanna. “You get a free charm — with a $10 donation — that says 850 Strong and it has Florida on the back with a heart.”
Previous donations have also raised money for Cherry Street Elementary, Cedar Grove Elementary and Bay High. So far over $22,000 in total has been raised. Hanna felt compelled to help local schools after Bay County and the Florida Panhandle was devastated. Her store survived and still has customers coming in, including regular out-of-town visitors. The bright, festive interior of the store gives a sense of optimism and hope six months after Hurricane Michael plowed through the area.
“When we picked the different schools, I wanted to know the money that was given to me for the donations was going to be going to the right people,” said Hanna, who cried while reflecting on helping the schools. “The schools I chose are near our area. I knew the people. They’re part of the community. ... There’s such huge needs. I’m just trying to do my part.”
The charms can be purchased at the store at 550 Harrison Ave. or ordered online at lhbeads.com.
Hanna said they have spread the word to regular customers and through their social media accounts and website. The gallery has posted about the donations on their Facebook and Instagram accounts.
“It feels great. It’s helping the people,” said Hanna. “I want to make a difference somewhere.”