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Okaloosa residents join forces to keep homeless warm

With temperatures dropping so drastically, thousands will be left fighting for warmth throughout the Panhandle.
But a group of community members here in Ft. Walton have decided to join forces, and help with that fight.
Local artist, Tim Car, made a short documentary about two homeless men in Ft. Walton.
He felt compelled to do so because of his own story.

Timothy Carr "Basically I was homeless as a kid for almost a year. And my father, my sister and myself were bouncing around shelters and on the street, and relying on people's kindness."

When one of the men died from exposure to the cold recently, Car decided to do more.
He called businesses in Okaloosa and Walton County, and asked for their help.
He says he knows how far a little help can go to the homless.

Timothy Carr "When I was homeless as a kid, somebody giving us a warm meal was this massive thing that just made us so happy."

Tina Marsh runs Luxe Sports Grill in Tt. Walton.
She said the decision to pitch in was easy.

Tina Marsh "I think it's very sad. I hate to see anyone in that situation. And we need to try and do something about it."

Starlissa Wilson runs the Beal Street Music Hall.
She says homelessness affected her family directly.

Starlissa Wilson "My one son was homeless in New Orleans for a while. And it broke my heart every day. And I see these people all the time, you know? It really does touch me."

In her opinion, helping out could be a matter of life and death.

Starlissa Wilson "If we can save somebody's life with a blanket and a coat and a hat and a pair of gloves, why would we not want to do that?"

The businesses are collecting warm weather clothing and food.
They'll distribute it by way of local churches and charities.
The businesses will also host a charity benefit concert Tuesday evening at the Beal Street Music Hall, where they'll continue to collect donations.
Reporting live from Okaloosa County, Rob Brown, Channel Three News.