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WALTON COUNTY, Fla. – Oct. 19, 2018 – Hurricane Michael, a category 4 storm that registered as the third strongest hurricane ever to hit the United States, made landfall on October 10 near Mexico Beach, Florida, only 50 miles from the eastern border of Walton County. South Walton’s residents and businesses were largely spared damage from the hurricane, and they’re moving quickly to help out neighboring counties that saw major impacts.

As a start, Visit South Walton (the Walton County TDC) and local lifestyle brand 30A partnered to quickly raise $134,000 for relief efforts by offering specially designed limited edition Shore Up shirts for $30 each, with 100 percent of all sales going directly to relief efforts through The Sonder Project, a South Walton non-profit.

Additionally, Visit South Walton established Walton County Cares (www.WaltonCountyCares.com), a website designed to serve as a resource portal for businesses and citizens looking to get involved in hurricane recovery efforts. On the site, users will find a comprehensive listing of places to donate goods, funds, or time, as well as regularly updated news and info.

“Our hearts are broken for the communities to the east,” says Walton County TDC Director Jay Tusa. “South Walton was very fortunate this time, and we are committed to doing everything possible to assist our neighbors who were not as lucky. I have no doubt that together we can help rebuild and strengthen the entire Florida Panhandle.”

The Walton County Cares website also features the latest good news – businesses and individuals pledging support and donating large amounts to support the community. Such stories include the local St. Joe Community Foundation’s $1 million donation towards relief efforts, Lowe’s $2 million commitment, Target and Walt Disney Company’s $1 million donation each and many more. The New York Yankees are also making an impact with a $100,000 donation, and the stories keep coming.

The site offers opportunities to get involved to help out with relief efforts, from donation drop-off locations to volunteer opportunities, as well as upcoming benefits and fundraisers being organized by the community to further support those affected by Hurricane Michael.