Family Motor Coach Association chapters display year-round charitable spirit by donating canned goods, helping to build homes, assisting with disaster recovery, and collecting toys for disadvantaged children.
By Peggy Jordan
As the holidays near, local and national news media will spotlight the great needs in our communities. But among the nearly 500 chapters in the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA), an international organization for motorhome owners, giving goes on all year long.
Some FMCA chapters were formed by motorhome owners with a similar hobby or interest, such as FMCA Chapter: Habitat For Humanity®. This group was organized in 1998 by FMCA members who wanted regular opportunities to "give a hand up, not a hand out." Chapter members support the mission of Habitat for Humanity International and volunteer their time, talents, labor, and enthusiasm to build affordable housing, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity affiliates across North America.
The group most recently built a home this past October in Fort Smith, Arkansas. In 2012, the chapter's plans include constructing two homes in Georgia.
Other FMCA chapters focus on ownership of RVs made by the same manufacturer, or form because their members all live in a certain geographical area. Regardless of the type of chapter, many of them become involved in helping others.
Following are more highlights of the generosity shown by FMCA chapters.
The Cruisin' Cajuns chapter presented a $4,155 gift to the United Way of Acadiana's Rayne Tornado Long Term Recovery Coalition after a March 2011 tornado hit the town of Rayne, Louisiana.
The Allegheny Mountain chapter of western Pennsylvania sent $500 to a deserving family in Sipsey, Alabama, after tornadoes in April destroyed the family's home and all of their belongings.
Ozarks Ridge Runner chapter members, concerned about the plight of schoolchildren after a tornado devastated Joplin, Missouri, this past May, donated 83 pairs of new athletic shoes — and 240 pairs of socks — to students at Emerson Elementary School in Joplin.
Country Coach International, an FMCA chapter whose members own Country Coach brand motorhomes, donated $7,298 to a children's hospital in San Antonio, Texas.
The Twentieth Century Wagontrainers chapter held a "working rally" at a New Jersey Elks camp for children with special needs, preparing it for the summer season. They cleaned dorms, power-washed buildings, assembled beds, and replaced electrical fixtures, among other tasks.
The Wisconsin-based Badger chapter collected canned foods to be distributed to veterans by the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.
Canned-goods collection stations also are set up by members of the Professional RV Vendors Chapter at FMCA conventions and area rallies, for distribution to local food pantries.
At each Lone Star chapter rally, stuffed animals are collected to donate to service organizations in the community. At the final rally of the year, the entire collection is given away. In December 2009, more than 60 toys went to the Fredericksburg, Texas, Police Department to be distributed to disadvantaged children.
Since 2008 the WesTex chapter has been helping to support a young man in financial difficulty by helping him achieve a college degree from Texas A&M. They also have helped to pay for his books, provided him with a computer and printer, and more.
FMCA hopes these stories will inspire other members of the RVing community to make this year's "giving season" last all year long.