Written by Rocio Villalobos
Photo by Rick Harrington
For Christmas this year, residents at Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort combined their resources to create an unforgettable day for a family of six.
Resort manager Keith Willquette, along with other personnel, decided that nothing could bring more holiday cheer to the park than the gift of giving.
After finding a family in need through a Mission church, the park publicized the need for donations in early December. Residents did not disappoint.
The exclusively winter Texan park currently has about 200 of its sites full. And according to resident Anne Scott, just about everyone chose to give.
“They were exceedingly generous,” she said.
Dozens of toys, gadgets and clothing articles were collected for the children — two boys ages 15, 10, and two girls ages 7 and 4. Crafters put their skills to use by making quilts and knitting hats.
Al Peterson, a first year resident at the resort, served as the translator for the Spanish-speaking family. He helped set up the time and date for the gifts to be delivered and found out the sizes and gift requests for the children.
“They were just really modest people,” he said. “I think actually they were a little overwhelmed by all the stuff.”
The park staff was also able to purchase grocery gift cards and bikes and helmets for each child with more than $500 donated in addition to the toys.
“We’re all grandparents and we don’t have little kids to buy presents for… because we’re not with our families,” said Scott. “So we decided to do something to provide a special Christmas for another family.”
A few days before Christmas, volunteers loaded up a truck and SUV with the items purchased and donated to deliver it to the family.
“They seemed very appreciative,” said Scott. “The kids were bouncing up and down like little kids do at Christmas.”
Given the response from the Bentsen community, said Scott and Peterson, they believe they can make their giving a tradition to share with families in need around the Rio Grande Valley.
“We’re all so blessed to have this lifestyle and to have enough money to reach out and try to help these people,” said Scott. “On the way back (from dropping off the items) we all said, ‘well, that made our Christmas.’”