■ Chronicle News Staff
According to Wikipedia, a “Snowbird” is a North American term for a person who migrates from the higher latitudes and colder climates of the northern United States and Canada in the southward direction in the winter to warmer locales such as Florida, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, or elsewhere along the Sun Belt of the southern United States, Mexico, and areas of the Caribbean. Many “snowbirds” are from either Northeast, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, or Canada.
No matter from whence they come, snowbirds leave a lasting legacy in the type of community service they do, typically helping others less fortunate in the cities or towns they visit year after year that they call their second home.
“Snowbirds” or “Winter-visitors” to be politically correct, participate in flea markets putting up for sale goods that they bring with them from up north, donating a certain percentage to women’s or children’s groups. Similarly, they organize and participate in golf tournaments as fundraisers for local pantries that donate food to the poor. According to a recent article by Muriel Dufresne in the Valley Chronicle, snowbirds organized a series of fundraisers to contribute $1,800 to the renovation costs of the Historic Hemet Theatre hoping to make another large donation before returning north.
Snowbirds have a big impact on the economies of many southern states. Winter visitors don’t just hang out down south and then leave. They actually have a big impact on the area’s economy. They pay real estate taxes, do all their grocery shopping, buy gas from local gas stations, and some even work seasonal jobs or do volunteer work.
During their stay, the snowbirds spend approximately $3,500 per month totaling $14,000 throughout their time away from their primary home.
Wherever snowbirds may wander, it’s a safe bet that they will be bringing with them their good will and desire to make a difference in the community they make their home during the harsh winter months up north. Snowbirds have demonstrated this quality ever since they first came to the San Jacinto Valley.