Dave Merrill’s Christmas Wish? Provide a Bit of Christmas Kindness to Those In Need

Dave Merrill, lower right, with a group of Mount Dora helpers

Sometimes Facebook posts are painfully annoying.  Too personal, too pushy…just too, too much.  Sometimes you just shake your head and wonder why on earth you tune into the crazy world of social networking at all.

There are people who do it right, though.  Sometimes, those Facebook posts are wonderful.  Sometimes, they connect people through a common goal, a common project or a community need.  In this local case, a community need sparked a thoughtful person towards a generous goal.  The spirit of giving and the kindness that was shared on Facebook brought neighbors together to celebrate the blessings associated with giving to others.

Ah, Dave Merril, you are the king of the “Best Way Ever” to use Facebook. With the thought in mind of helping the homeless, and veterans in particular, Dave set a goal to make a little bit of difference.  He would prepare some goodie bags, in gallon ziplocks, with maybe a little bit of money and some items most of us would probably take for granted.  Those could be distributed to the homeless of the Lake County area.  Dave met up with the Open Door folks and decided to have at it.  He posted on Facebook and invited some other folks to participate.

Bags of items collected and on their way to help
Bags of items collected and on their way to help the homeless.

Open Door, a foundation established to help the Lake County area’s homeless population, sees more than its fair share of need.  But this year, they got a little jolt of Dangerous Dave to help them fulfill that need.  Dave Merrill and his Facebook network of helpers launched themselves at this project with enthusiasm, generosity, and joy.

The results were amazing and exceeded all of Dave’s expectations.  And in appreciation and amazement,  he gathered up his brother, Rick, and his friends to make the celebration of giving to others even bigger and better.  With a concert at Lake Harris Hideaway, neighbors and friends gathered to enjoy the weather, the company and the spirit of giving.  Dangerous Dave’s musical talent and generous nature are something we locals know to appreciate up-close and in person as often as we are able.

Mount Dora Helpers on the way to the Hideaway
Mount Dora Helpers on the way to the Hideaway

One Mount Dora contingent made the gesture of giving a chance to get together and celebrate.  With a shopping trip, pizza party, and fun social gathering where they packed their goodie bags, they embraced the project with gusto.  The next day, the same group enjoyed the beautiful weather and the boat ride over to the Hideaway, where the bags were delivered.  So many delivered to Open Door, in fact, that even representatives from the VA will be helping, taking them to area veterans who are homeless.

From Dave Merrill’s Facebook page:

“As I sit here this morning knee deep in socks, comfort food and a bevy of donations, I think about all the people who not only read my posts, but took the time and energy in this most busy season to go purchase these things and drop them off or assemble the packages.. You have clicked the ultimate “Like” button… Some of you spent money outside your budget and some of you have and will give the most precious of gifts, your time and effort. For all of this, my gratitude is immeasurable.
A couple of weeks back, I had about $80.00 from my tip jar that I wanted to use to pay forward the kindness that has been shown to me. It wasn’t much, but it made me feel good that somehow this could help someone less fortunate than myself..
When I decided to try and see what we could do as a community, I had absolutely NO idea this would happen.. I so look forward to seeing everyone today to thank you and enjoy this event…God Bless y’all and PEACE, D2″


Wow, Dave…just wow…you’re amazing.

Melissa DeMarco, Editor (editor@mountdoracitizen.com)