Sometimes camping isn’t all about sitting in lawn chairs roasting hot dogs and s’mores over an open campfire. A local Wilmington campground is proving that giving back to the community can be just as satisfying.
Each year, Pine Cove Campground donates 1,200 to 1,500 non-perishable canned goods to Sugartree Ministries’ Your Father’s Kitchen, the Wilmington food pantry. Pine Cove Campground raises money to donate as well. Their overall monetary donations to Your Father’s Kitchen average around $500 a year.
Pine Cove Campground holds numerous fundraisers throughout the season including quilt raffles, 50/50 raffles, and weekly bingo games where cards can be purchased with canned goods, and all proceeds are donated.
The Kitchen has provided a safe spot for less fortunate members of the community the last 20 years. They’ve provided food through a soup kitchen happening six days a week, and hand out groceries one day a week. According to the Sugartree Advisory Board, Pine Cove Campground’s donations help provide 140 families with weekly groceries.
This upcoming Father’s Day weekend, Pine Cove Campground is hosting a pancake breakfast where dads eat free, but all other attendees are required to pay or bring a canned good. All proceeds from the Father’s Day pancake breakfast will be donated to Your Father’s Kitchen.
Pine Cove Campground is a family-run, private campground on a 25-acre facility near Cowan Lake State Park. The park caters to seasonal campers, meaning that customers rent campsites for extended periods and pay monthly or yearly rates.
Pine Cove Campground also accommodates full-time customers who reside in their RVs year-round, or during the summer months before heading south. Whether you enjoy swimming, canoeing, fishing, hiking, grilling out, or just relaxing by the fire, Pine Cove Campground offers something for everyone.
Pine Cove Campground owner Jim and Julie Franzer strive to provide a family atmosphere with activities for children and adults alike. The Franzers, originally from Dayton, purchased Pine Cove Campground and moved to Wilmington in 2012. They have made many improvements to the property, including renovation of the bath houses and construction of a new shelter house where campground events are held.
To his family and customers, Jim Franzer is the lifeblood of Pine Cove Campground. Though many would shy away from working outside seven days a week, Franzer has dedicated his life to fostering community and the campground environment at Pine Cove. Formerly a planning engineer for AK Steel, Franzer quit his desk job in 2013 to focus on campground efforts.
Every year, Pine Cove Campground camping season starts April 1 and through Oct. 31. Due to the pandemic, the 2020 opening was delayed by a month.
Since re-opening, Pine Cove has taken steps to ensure campers can social distance and maintain responsible safety practices. This includes sanitization stations at all campground events, limited seating in the shelter house, and reducing the maximum occupancy in the pool and store.