Project Santa Claus delivers |

Project Santa Claus delivers

by Caryn Haller

Shannon LitzRebecca carries a package of Christmas gifts for a waiting family on Thursday at the Douglas County Fairgrounds during Project Santa Claus.

For Christmas, Kristi Paschall’s 8-year-old wants art supplies, clothes and a zebra bean bag. Her 11-year-old wants Beyblades.

The Gardnerville mother was confident their requests were answered as she waited in line at the fairgrounds Thursday for Project Santa Claus distribution day.

“They’ve been awesome. I don’t know how I’d survive without them. They get me through the hard times, and if I didn’t have this program we wouldn’t have Christmas,” Paschall said. “I can’t wait until I can take an angel off the tree to help a family out.”

For Gardnerville residents Becky and Mike Rankin, Project Santa Claus meant everything.

After having their third child two months ago, the money to buy Christmas presents just wasn’t there.

“This means everything. It’s our kids’ Christmas. I’ve got a minimum wage job, so this is the biggest help we could ask for,” Mike said. “We were getting worried for a minute, but then we heard about this program. Otherwise, all our Christmas money would have gone to rent. These guys are our angels this Christmas.”

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Head elf and Kiwanis member Dave Nelson said his job on Thursday was to fix any last-minute glitches in the distribution.

“We always have a few hiccups, but other than that it’s going good,” he said. “Seeing all the people having a merry Christmas that they wouldn’t have had otherwise makes me feel good.”

Gardnerville resident Mayra Castillo was grateful for the Christmas help.

“Sometimes parents can’t do it, and it makes me feel good that someone went out and bought presents for them. It makes the kids happy that they are going to get something,” Castillo said referring to her five children. “Last year, the kids all got what they wanted, but I always tell them as long as you receive something that’s what matters.”

As a community service, girls from Right of Passage helped carry bags of presents to people’s cars.

“This gives the girls the opportunity to give back to their community, and help those in need. It’s rewarding,” coach Greg Wells said. “This is something new for the girls. Last year it was the boys. This is nice they get to see they really don’t have it so bad.”

Project Santa Claus provided gifts for 317 families and 703 children.

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