Panama City Beach and Bay County, Florida, have been working hard to recover from Hurricane Michael, which hit the area in early October. The Bay District Schools are planning to reopen some schools and programs by November 5 and all schools by November 13. The Sunbelt Promotional Products Association (SPPA) has put the call out to the industry to help students affected by the storm get ready to go back to school.

As many residents lost everything in the hurricane, they are in desperate need of school supplies like backpacks, pencils, pens, notebooks, t-shirts, etc. The school district is rebuilding 1,800 classrooms and providing much-needed clothing and supplies for its students. Prior to Hurricane Michael it had around 28,000 students and the district anticipates that approximately half will need some kind of support.

As the clocks “fall back” this weekend and some schools are now sharing campuses, there are students who won't be dismissed from school until 6 pm and many will be walking home in the dark through areas where street lights are down and debris blocks visibility. These students are also in need of flashlights, reflective vests, glow-in-the-dark clothing and anything that will make them more visible.

Bonnie Atkinson with By the Bay Promotional Products in Panama City Beach is alerting SPPA to the school district’s needs and helping the regional association coordinate its response. SPPA is asking industry companies to ship samples, overruns, closeouts and donations of flashlights, backpacks, school supplies, t-shirts, etc. to Deniece Moss, Principal, West Bay Elementary, 14813 School Drive, Panama City Beach, Florida 32413, and if possible, include a sticker or label on the package that says "Promo Cares." Industry professionals can also donate through the school district’s Amazon Wish List, which requests needed items.

SPPA asks participating industry companies to let it know how they are helping so it can track the industry’s response. A PromoCares logo can be downloaded here and for more information on the promotional products industry’s PromoCares initiative, visit