File this story under the continuing and unrelenting effects of the pandemic on everyday life.
And that includes on the holiday season — fewer visitors mean less charitable donations.
And RV-resort manager Debbie Betts found her Santa fund in the red.
Frog Creek R-V Resort sits off the interstate, tucked away amid grand oaks and hanging moss in Manatee County.
Frog Creek feeds into Terra Ceia Bay and the state’s aquatic preserve.
That leads out through southern Tampa Bay into the Gulf of Mexico.
The bucolic setting belies other less beautiful truths.
Frog Creek R-V Resort sits off the interstate, tucked away amidst grand oaks and hanging moss in Manatee County.
“Unfortunately, this particular area has a lot of underprivileged children living in the neighborhoods around here,” said Betts, “So we adopt, so to speak, a number of children from the elementary school and everybody chips in.”
But that “everybody” number is down by a quarter.
There are no visiting Canadians — plus many travelers are delaying their plans to come south. Not to be dissuaded, Betts picked up the phone and hit up social media to sound the alarm.
“So I had to reach out to them and say, 'Send me money,'" she said. "I wish you were here, but could you send me some money?”
And they did.
Christmas is still coming.
“So it’s been a challenge, but we are doing it,” Betts says. She attributes the positive response to their close-knit community.
Once you stay there — you get a new moniker for life — Frogger.
Santa apparently – is a Frogger too.