Local pilots collect backpacks for hurricane victims in Florida Panhandle

Non-profit Sol Relief collecting donations
Posted at 9:39 PM, Oct 12, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Local pilots have donated their time to fly planes to the hardest hit areas after Hurricane Michael. 

Jennifer Lockwood who runs a non-profit called Sol Relief has organized a disaster relief mission. Five private planes will leave Albert Whitted Airport in St. Petersburg on Saturday morning. 

Pilots will fly backpacks and supplies to hurricane victims.

"I got the planes and space and the pilots ready to go, we need supplies," said Jennifer Lockwood. 

"Panama City is one of the hardest hit areas and also the Apalachicola area and a small community called Sneads, Florida," said Lockwood. 

St. Pete Air, a local flight school and those with Sol Relief started collecting backpacks for those in the hardest hit areas.

So far they have collected 100 backpacks, but they're hoping to get thousands.

They're also asking for donations for items like flashlights, small First Aid Kits, wet wipes, water bottles with filtration, travel pillows, hygiene kits and portable phone chargers. 

Lockwood created the non-profit after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, last year.

"Last year, the hurricanes hit St. Croix and the U.S. Virgin Islands and I use to live there and a lot of my friends and family were impacted," said Lockwood.

"It just turned in to a huge mission last year," added Lockwood.

Flights will leave on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. and Lockwood said they will continue to collect donations until the need is gone.

"We realized there's a real need for general aviation to be involved in disaster response so we formed our non-profit," said Lockwood. 

Donations can be dropped off Monday-Saturday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. at St. Pete Air on 107 8th Avenue South in St. Petersburg. 

Bill Jackson's Sporting Goods is offering a pre-packed bag at a 20% discount for $135. Let them know it's for Sol Relief and Hurricane Michael. 

For more information on how to help, click here.