Florida man pays off utility bills for dozens of struggling families for the second year in a row

  • 19 Dec - 25 Dec, 2020
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Mag Files

A Florida man who helped dozens of families last holiday season is giving back to his community yet again – and this time, he's assisting more than 100 families in need. Ahead of Christmas in 2019, Michael Esmond paid nearly $4,600 in gas and water bills for 36 Gulf Breeze families whose payments were past due after he experienced similar circumstances back in 1983. So when the holidays rolled around this year, Esmond, 74, felt compelled to do it again – especially after a difficult year that saw Florida pummeled by Hurricane Sally and the economic impacts of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. With Esmond's generous $7,615.40 donation to the city, he was able to help 114 families who were facing disconnection of water, gas and sewer services. When Esmond reached out to the city, he said he learned that many of the families in need were facing bills that were $100 or less. Because of that, he was able to help three times as many households as he did in 2019. The rest of his donation went toward families who were more than 30 days late with their bills and were using a covid-19 deferral. Esmond first decided to give back to families in need after he and his three daughters spent Christmas 1983 in the cold after he could not afford to pay the heat and power bill.