Members of the Wally Byam Caravan Club gave more than $18,000 and countless hours of help to local charities during their recent annual rally in Lansing, Mich., according to the Lansing State Journal.
The caravaners had an estimated $5 million impact on the local economy, spending money at hotels, restaurants and shopping areas, said Kent Love, vice president of marketing communications for the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“The caravaners see this as a way to give back to the host community,” Love said.
More than 1,700 vintage Airstream trailers and motorhomes settled near the Capital City Airport from early June through July 4, creating a suburb of thousands of people as part of the 47th annual Wally Byam Caravan Club International Rally held June 28 to July 4.
Along with attending seminars and exploring the area, club members donated 102 pints of blood, knitted more than 5,000 hats and collected 1,800 stuffed animals for schools, police and firefighters to give to children in crisis.
They also visited nursing-home residents, delivered watermelon and drinks to the homeless and helped build a Habitat for Humanity house. They raised the $18,000 through raffles, fund-raisers and yearlong collections.
The Lansing City Rescue Mission used part of its donation to assemble backpacks full of school supplies for children and to buy personal items for women.
“It’s neat to see such a huge group come in and want to help the community,” said Mark Criss, executive director of the mission. “It was really helpful, and it was good timing.”
“The rally was a huge success,” Love said. “I think there’s a good chance we would be able to host them again in the near future.”