Spirit of Christmas ‘Gloes’ bright in Fayette County

Local resident Kathy Gloer helps those impacted by Hurricane Michael


Courtesy of Kathy Gloer

Kathy Gloer (left) and Sandi Donaldson (right) pose with the driver of a truck filled with toys and supplies. On Dec. 11, Gloer ventured to the coast of Florida in an effort to save Christmas for children impacted by Hurricane Michael.

James Hindy, Staff Writer

Just as constant as the sun rises in the East and set in the West, most Americans operate in a routine manner. Day in and day out, individuals often stress about disturbances in their work, school, or family lives. Sometimes people become so consumed in their own problems, that they forget to help those in need. As the time for gift giving, hot cocoa, cookies, and eggnog draws near, residents of Florida’s coast are forced to live in the dust of their once cherished homes. To many of those still impacted by Hurricane Michael, the luxury of food, water, and shelter would make for a very Merry Christmas.

I feel like the Lord put it on my heart that this is what I want you to do. I lost my job in June, so I was really praying for a purpose, and this happened.”

— Kathy Gloer

Because of the carnage Hurricane Michael left behind in Mexico Beach, Panama City, and Port Saint Joe, Florida, residents are currently living with nothing. In the end, it is the people like Kathy Gloer, spouse of Starr’s Mill’s teacher Jon Gloer,  that create faith from ruin.

“Right now the panhandle looks like a bomb went off,” Gloer said. “There is total devastation in many areas, not just in Panama City, but all the other little towns around it from Fountain, to Parker, to of course Mexico Beach, Port St. Joe, and Lynn Haven.”

Following the massive destruction Gloer saw depicted all over the news, she decided to travel to ground zero in an effort to help others. For two weeks she worked at the Woodstock Church in Florida to distribute food to those struggling to make sense of the devastation.

After a bit of recruiting in her hometown of Fayetteville Georgia, Gloer was ready for her next selfless task — gathering essentials to provide to the storm’s victims.  

“We initially collected cleaning supplies, jackets, diapers, can goods, anything that had a pop top on it, mops, brooms, paper towels, hygiene products. Pretty much a Walmart store in the truck,” Gloer said.

While supplying a massive truck full of necessities is a feat in itself, Gloer did not stop there. Shoes were additionally needed, and Gloer is not one to leave 14,000 desperate children barefooted. Gloer planned her next excursion and traveled to Smith and Davis, a local shoe store, for support.

Courtesy of Kathy Gloer
Collected gifts piled in the bed of a rented pickup truck. Gloer organized for a wide variety of donated clothing, supplies, and toys for children in Florida’s Bay District Schools.

“We asked them if they could give us a deal to help the people in Florida, and they ended up giving us a huge deal of $20 a pair,” Gloer said.“Some of them were like $90 shoes, and we took around 300 pairs.”

With winter’s temperatures approaching, it came to Gloer’s attention that there was a dire need for jackets in the panhandle state. Smith and Davis also gave them a deal toward purchasing jackets. In addition, Gloer set up a jacket drive at multiple other locations.

With Smith and Davis’s financial support and Gloer’s heartfelt determination, children with nothing can now embrace the warm glimmer of hope from at least 3,000 new coats. However, as Christmas approaches, the destruction of homes weighs heavily on the “most wonderful time of the year.”

Because of all the destruction in Florida, it occurred to Gloer that Santa might have trouble bringing the Christmas spirit to Floridian children.  To solve this problem, Gloer collected a variety of toys for kids of all ages in a plan to save Christmas.

“We probably have a least a couple thousand toys already,” Gloer said. “We have a whole dining room full [of toys] that you can’t even walk in.”  

Consisting of headphones, baby dolls, basketballs, and more, Gloer’s gifts will help her to achieve the greatest gift of all — knowing that she has made children content in a time of loss and depression.

“Honestly, I just feel called to do it,” Gloer said. “I feel like the Lord put it on my heart that this is what I want you to do. I lost my job in June, so I was really praying for a purpose, and this happened.”

The sun will indeed set tonight, tomorrow, and the next day on the malice inflicted by Hurricane Michael. However, when Christmas night comes and goes, the sun will this time set in the presence of happy children.