For the second year in a row, Paradise Park RV Resort in Harlingen has made quite an effort to participate in giving back to the Harlingen CISD community. The park has been finding someone in their community to help out the last few years and the Harlingen CISD Clothing Closet has been blessed by them the last two.
A couple of years ago, Sharon Bargel, who has been heading up the charitable projects at the park, said they didn’t have a charitable project. It was then that she saw a Facebook post about a Reverse Advent calendar idea. She shared the idea with others in the park, and once the season started, it was fully embraced by park management. It was then that they felt the need to do something each year during the holiday season.
Last year, because of COVID, they were told they would have to do something on their own instead of using park facilities or services. Again, Bargel saw something that piqued her interest. She saw a piece on the local TV news station that indicated the HCISD Clothing Closet needed winter coats for children in grade pre-K through high school.
She soon learned, there was a need for other things. The Clothing Closet needed underwear, socks, shoes, and other clothing items.
“I was sold on the idea that this was where we could make an impact for others less fortunate,” said Bargel.
Soon, flyers were distributed throughout the park. Totes were placed at the end of her driveway for collections. She stored donated items in a spare room until distribution day.
Last year, even with the lower turn out, residents donated about 600 items. This year, they delivered nearly 1,100 items that were either donated or purchased with donated monies. Items they delivered last week included underwear, socks, shoes, shirts, gloves, and other miscellaneous clothing items.
“We are thrilled with the response of our very generous residents,” said Bargel about this year’s donations. “We’ve gotten comments that residents appreciate that kids within our own school district will benefit from these donations.”
As for next year, she said, they’ll see if someone has a different idea to donate to or if they will continue to donate to HCISD.
Bargel said, her and her co-chair, Jan Walter, both feel strongly about helping those in need, volunteering, and sharing their blessings with their community. This is just one of the ways they feel they can give back to the community they love so much.
“I believe we need to share our blessings and good fortunes of being here with those less fortunate, to make their lives a little bit better,” said Bargel. “The Harlingen community and the Valley in general have been very welcoming to us – we need to give back.”
In the past, residents have donated food and personal items to Loaves and Fishes and Sow the Word. Other residents get involved with volunteering at a local thrift store, Valley Baptist Hospital, the Food Bank and packing backpacks – and maybe others that I am not aware of, said Bargel about the many things the residents do for the community.
“Our quilting group has made weighted blankets and lap quilts and donated those as well.
“It’s the spirit of doing something worthy and good for others,” she said. “Helping others, especially kids, always brings out our most generous spirits.
“I have a heart full of emotion for projects like this – helping those whose lives may not be as blessed as mine,” continued Bargel. “I’ve been though tough times myself. Doing a project like this, donating to causes I believe in and have a heart for, gives me a full heart and a sense of purpose.”