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Louisiana campground operator Anne Pierson, founder of the 10,000-member Happy Camper discount camping club and the Circle of Trust (COT) marketing network, reports receiving a “massive” response to COT’s widescale request for aid to southern RV owners who have fled the Gulf Coast and taken refuge, among other places, in campgrounds throughout the region. Several RV companies, she says, are among those lending support.
Cash donations have resulted in the provision of basic human necessities, i.e. diapers, toothpaste, shampoo and peanut butter for needy families staying at Pierson’s Monroe, La., park. Pierson, along with her husband, Bob, owns Shiloh Resorts in Monroe and St. Joseph, La.
“Our local community has since learned of our RVing families, and a local church has started bringing clothing, shoes, books, school supplies and gas cans,” writes Pierson in an e-mail to COT member companies. “We now think that all the needs of our guests at our park are being met in the local community, so I’m focused now on contacting other parks in the area where the situation is still unfolding.”
Pierson says that for now her park will act as a base of support for other parks in the area to pick up supplies that are sent, and she’s hoping that she can locate some RV volunteers to help deliver these goods to other parks in the near future. She’s also hoping to hook up with some regional associations to better coordinate aid. “For now,” adds Pierson, “we are giving money straight to the people in their RVs who need it, and trying to give direct help to RV parks hosting the victims. Escapees (the Texas-based Escapees RV Club) has opened its Plantation RV Park for victims, giving one free month to those who can show proof of residence in the devastated areas — what a great gesture by our friends at Escapees.”
“If you talk directly to RVers – we’re getting emails from RVers who want to come help,” she adds. “It’s a wonderful community, and it makes me proud to know this, but RVers need to WAIT to come down. Right now, adding more people will create more chaos. RV parks in safe areas (like ours) are full to capacity, and refugees NEED these camp sites. Tell them please not to use what resources are left to these people. Gas is also a problem. There is no way for RVers to reach the coast at all right now, and they will not be able to get gas as they go toward these areas. Even here, 250 miles north of the whole mess, our gas pumps are empty in my town, and gas is scarce in Monroe, just 20 miles east of here. So, if you’re talking to RVers who want to help, tell them to stay put for now, but to stand ready in the coming weeks, as they could be a tremendous help in the long run.”
Pierson can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]