The RV Community Is Giving Back This Holiday Season
‘Tis the season of giving. This time of year is all about sharing, hope, good cheer, love, understanding, helping, and goodwill towards mankind. As another year draws to a close, many take this period to extend aid to people in need or donate to charities.
From industry professionals to RV enthusiasts, the RV community has organized charity events and contributed funds throughout the year, including these last few months. The following are some ways these folks have reached out to others during this season of giving.
Food Bank Donation and Toy Drive
Florida’s significant reduction in tourism this year has disabled the leisure and hospitality industry more than any other job market and caused a notable rise in unemployment. To help Southwest Florida residents through this decline, Region 1 members of the statewide Florida RV Trade Association decided to take action. The organization donated $5,000 to the Harry Chapin Food Bank in Fort Myers on December 15th.
“We know many in our community are having rough financial times due to the COVID pandemic and its effect on our local economy,” said local FRVTA Region 1 President Everett Henkel III. “This prompted us to give back to the community in a small, but hopefully meaningful manner to make things a bit easier this holiday season.”
Region 1 members also assist with an annual toy drive. “One of our campground members in Arcadia coordinates an annual toy drive so the local children there can enjoy the magic of Christmas,” said Henkel. “We’re trying to do our part to spread the spirit of the season and help the overall community enjoy the holidays.”
Make-A-Wish RV Donations
Make-A-Wish Foundation, founded in 1980, helps fulfill the wishes of children with critical illness between the ages of 2¹⁄₂ and 18 years old. While COVID-19 has halted requests that involved travel and large gatherings, it continues to grant wishes for particular goods and services like RVs. There have been many requests for RVs, especially this year. To these many recipients, an RV is just as good or even better than Disneyland. RVing still equals spending time with family, traveling, and enjoying outdoor fun, only in a much safer manner.
Mount Comfort RV is one of several RV dealerships that has helped grant the wishes of children diagnosed with a critical illness with an RV donation. This Indiana-based company donated not one but two trailers to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Ken Eckstein, owner of Mount Comfort RV, did not have the time or supply when Make-A-Wish first contacted him. Like many other RV dealerships this year, Eckstein had a limited inventory. However, soon after the request, he received an RV that fit the criteria and notified the company. A second request soon followed for a second family, and Eckstein followed up.
Eckstein has been working with Make-A-Wish since 2007-2008. These last two donations were the ninth and tenth rigs he’s provided. The foundation continues to contact him and at present has a waiting list of 51 RVs.
“For the same reason that RV travel became the way to vacation in 2020, the Make-A-Wish foundation has had a tremendous need for RVs,” Eckstein said. “With the pandemic raging, kids’ wishes to go to Disneyland are on hold.”
“The need has become greater because the alternatives are becoming fewer,” he added. “They’re taking these kids and giving them hope, and if you’ve got hope, then anything’s possible.”
The RV Community and Care Camps
Care Camps is a non-profit organization that helps kids with cancer enjoy some outdoor fun and adventure. It gives each child a break to heal, build long-lasting friendships, and think beyond the confines of medication and hospitals. With the help of donations, kids can attend special oncology camps all over the U.S. and Canada free of charge, at no cost to their already financially burdened families.
Care Camps have partnered up with several companies in the camping and outdoors industries, most notably KOA, Forest River, and Dometic. These and many other organizations and businesses arrange fundraisers like drawings or contests, community gatherings, and general collections throughout the year. With the year coming to a close, last-minute efforts are being made to collect even more funds for this charity.
Level 5, a full-service technology and advertising agency for the RV, Marine, and Powersports industries, is challenging dealers to make a donation of at least $500 to Care Camps by December 30th. The donation can be a direct trader of funds to Care Camp or a Facebook fundraiser.
Once the company has reached its goal of at least $500, it will be entered into a drawing to win $10,000 cash. (For additional information on this contest, dealers and employees can reach out to Mercer at Care Camps by calling (406)-671-0447 or emailing [email protected].)
“The Level 5 family is happy to do something that will hopefully encourage many others to give to support this amazing cause. In a year that record sales have blessed many in the outdoors industry, we are thankful for the opportunity not only to give back but inspire others to do the same,” said Budd Blackburn, president of Level 5.
Jennifer Mercer, Care Camps director of development, had something to say about Level 5’s fundraising event.
“We are so excited that Level 5 is doing this contest to encourage dealers everywhere to give. The cause of helping kids with cancer find hope and healing during their struggles is bigger than any one of us. By donating to Care Camps, you are helping children fighting cancer in every community, in every state, and ensure that they have a chance to experience the healing power of the outdoors. Due to the loss of all three of Care Camp’s biggest fundraisers this year, we have never needed the support of our RV & Marine industry more.”
For more insight on Care Camps, check out the video below.
Be part of the RV community and its commitment to help others
There are many ways you can lend a helping hand this holiday season. Participate in activities like volunteering your time to an organization, donating items or funds to a cause, or simply helping out a neighbor with running errands. If you are interested in contributing to Make-A-Wish Foundation or Care Camps, visit their donation sites online.