Lost Pizza Co. owners Preston Lott and Brooks Roberts live less than an hour from Panama City Beach, Fla., a place left ravaged by the category 4 Hurricane Michael last week.
They made the trip back to the Delta to wait out the storm, which would eventually veer east from their homes in Santa Rosa Beach.
This week, they returned to Florida, but they did not go empty-handed.
Thanks to many donors throughout the Delta, Lott and Roberts were able to fill their Lost Pizza trailer with hundreds of items, including canned goods, cleaning supplies, baby supplies and water.
“It was all the basics people would need,” Roberts told The E-T this week. “We had a bunch of water. That was the bulk of what we took.”
Roberts said the idea of taking back supplies, which were collected at their Indianola location, came from Lott.
“Preston said, ‘Why don’t we get our trailer and see what people in the Delta can donate,’” Roberts said. “We couldn’t believe the response from the people who wanted to help.”
There were many donations, including 60 cases of water given by the Indianola Fire Department.
When Roberts and Lott were getting ready to leave Santa Rosa Beach yesterday to take the supplies to Panama City, they happened to encounter two stranded motorists, Phillip and Brenda Nunnery.
The Panama City residents had lost their home and their boat in Michael, and their car battery had gone dead just outside of Santa Rosa Beach.
Phillip Nunnery is a Florida doctor, who just happened to be a native of McComb and a University of Mississippi alum.
Roberts said they talked for a while and realized they knew a lot of the same people.
Brenda Nunnery posted about the encounter on social media.
“When your home becomes uninhabitable, your sailboat sinks and your car battery dies in 1 week an Angel from Indianola, Mississippi appears,” she wrote on Facebook. “Brooks Roberts owns Lost Pizza Co. He is taking his food truck to Panama City tomorrow and cooking 1,000 hot pizzas. Mississippi friends please support his restaurants.”
Today, the Delta natives plan to feed between 800 and 1,000 people, while also providing cold drinks, which have been hard to come by in the area since electricity is still scarce.
Unfortunately, the electricity outages will keep the duo from being able to cook what has been named the best pizza in Mississippi for four consecutive years, but they were able to secure some propane fryers and will be cooking chicken tenders and French Fries.
“That was kind of the easiest thing we could come up with to feed the most amount of people,” Roberts said.
Roberts said he and Lott will always be from the Delta, but Florida is their home, and it’s that home that was in need of the best Indianola has to offer.
“We could have very easily been standing in that line, getting basic supplies,” Roberts said.
Roberts is the son of Charles and Cindy Roberts, and Lott is the son of Thomas and Brenda Lott.