Small Town in Georgia Comes Together to Feed Irma Evacuees

Facebook/Jessica Gaston

While natural disasters bring anything but good news, the best part is always seeing people come together to help others. Hurricane Irma is no exception. And people continue to help in any way they can.

In Perry, Georgia, Southern hospitality is booming. The town’s residents offer more than the standard canned goods and bread to help feed evacuees. Local resident Jessica Gaston and her friend Kimberly Chancy are working to feed those in need with Southern comfort food. Gaston posted a photo to Facebook with a sign that reads “Bacon, eggs, cheese grits, mama’s buttermilk biscuits”.

For just $10 worth of ingredients, the ladies make 250 buttermilk biscuits, Chancy told PEOPLE. These home-cooked meals are not only economical. They’ve also allowed the women to feed hundreds of people in a short amount of time.

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Perry, a tiny town in central Georgia has become a refuge to people fleeing from Irma. Because of gas shortages or lack of money or shelter, Perry is as far as some people have been able to get. It is about two hours from the Florida line. Tree crews have also parked in Perry, waiting for the storm to pass so they can get to work. Some people have even brought their horses to the town to escape the storm.

After learning of the evacuees heading to Perry, Chancy and her sister decided to help.  The sisters and a few friends set up shop at Interstate 75 North and Sam Nunn Boulvard, greeting people puling into the town with warm meals. On the plates they were offering? Barbecue, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, green beans and pecan pie.

“When you’ve got access to those huge smokers, you can cook eight to 10 Boston butts at one time,” Gaston told PEOPLE. “Break them up and it’ll make 200 plates of barbecue. It goes a long way.”


Powerful Hurricane Irma Slams Into Florida
Getty Images | Chip Somodevilla

“One lady was crying as soon as she pulled up to us,” Chancy told PEOPLE. “She got out of her car and hugged every one of us. She had her 4-year-old daughter with her and had come up here on her rent money.”

The effort is now a full-on operation, Chancy said no fewer than 10 people work in her kitchen to help out throughout the day. Then it takes about 30 people to hand out the food. The group expected to deliver 500 prepared meals for breakfast and dinner on Sunday, plus another 500 lunches.

They also have pet food and treats for the four-legged evacuees. Photos posted to Gaston’s Facebook page shows the assembly line of helpers.

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How you can help feed Irma evacuees

Their generosity has not gone unnoticed on the internet, either, with people and business donating to the cause. 

“It’s just amazing how all these people have come together,” Chancy said. “So many hugs and so many tears on shoulders. Our hearts get filled up every single night.”

Gaston says on Facebook that the are still in need of certain items, like paper towels, water/Gatorade and baby wipes. If you’re not in the area but still want to help, the are also taking money via PayPal. For more information, call 478-954-7376.

We love seeing stories like this! Keep up the good work, everyone!

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About the Author
Kaitlin Gates
Kaitlin is a freelance multimedia journalist with a degree in journalism and psychology. Along with Simplemost, she also writes for Don't Waste Your Money, where she loves finding great deals to help people save money. Visit Scripps News to see more of Kaitlin's work.

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