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Reverse Advent DSC 1039 webBy Herb Moering

The idea of a “Reverse Advent Calendar” food project became a spectacular success and more than Rick Anderson expected, when he presented it to residents of Mission Bell RV Resort last month.

Anderson, who with his wife, Karen, have been wintering at Mission Bell since 2005-06, said a park resident, Daleen Markel, mentioned the Reverse Advent Calendar, which Anderson decided to offer to park residents. The idea is to purchase a food item each day of the Advent season starting December 1.

Anderson, from northern Minnesota, said he figured a few residents might participate in the project, with the items to be donated going to the Mission United Methodist Church’s food pantry. However, the idea drew an overwhelming response and Anderson found hundreds of food items being brought to the park clubhouse on Saturday morning for transport to the church food pantry.

He said residents had supported the food pantry in small ways in the past, but “never on the grand scale like this Christmas.”

He needed some help with the project and Markel’s husband, Doug, was one to step up along with Russ Wenger from the park. Doug said, “The whole park is like that” after wife Daleen said, “The love shown here (by park residents) is unbelievable.” Doug, who is planning a second car show on March 9 next year at Mission Bell, noted their church back home in northwest Ohio has done this type of food project in the past.

Wenger’s part was to loan the use of his shed when they found they needed storage for all the food being donated. “It’s a good thing,” he said. ”Love the park people and I will do anything to help.”

Anderson decided to move up the closing deadline for donations to Saturday, which included money donations for those who couldn’t shop, so that the food pantry could help needy individuals and families before Christmas day arrived.

The outpouring of food brought a few tears of joy to Norma Welter, a park resident who volunteers at the local church. “It’s just overwhelming (the donations),” she said.

As an aside, Anderson and his wife’s main passion are the music jams in various parks. The couple also manages two jams, one at the J-Five MH & RV Park that just started on Tuesday and on Friday at the Trades Winds RV Resort. Anderson is a guitar player and Karen plays the mandolin.

Anderson was pleased to have three or four carloads of food for some needy people.

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