Sertoma provides Coat Drive update

Sertomans receive a grant from Walmart. Photo special to The R-C

Sertomans receive a grant from Walmart. Photo special to The R-C

Sertoma Coat Drive Chair Eileen Behr reports that thanks to “the efforts of our amazing and generous community,” Sertoma has collected and distributed nearly 1,400 jackets and coats and more than 3,000 warm items since their annual drive opened on Nov. 1.

Someone recently left several Christmas-themed bags in one of Sertoma’s blue donation barrels. The bags contained knitted and crocheted hats and mittens, and Behr expressed her gratitude to those who provided the beautiful selection of hand-crafted items.

The Grant Avenue and Topsy Lane Walmarts each provided grants for Sertoma to purchase jackets, and the Carson City Costco gave a donation to help support the local drive. One anonymous company donated 180 brand new coats in child and adult sizes.

Douglas High School is hosting their own school-based collection thanks to the efforts of two student activity groups. Harrah’s and Harveys Lake Tahoe sponsored an employee-centered drive and made a significant contribution, and Starbuck’s Carson Valley Roasting Plant and Distribution Center is participating in their own employee-centered donation drive.

As the coat drive enters its second half, Behr said ongoing needs include kid-size jackets, gloves for children and adults, and blankets of all sizes. Sertoma has also received a few requests for men’s jackets size 3XL.

Log onto Sertoma’s Coat Drive webpage at to view a list of needed items, learn how to make a cash contribution, and find an updated list of public donation sites, which include 25 locations throughout Douglas County, six locations in Carson City, and one each in South Lake Tahoe and Reno. Donations are accepted through Jan. 31.

Winter solstice marks the return of light

Although meteorological winter began Dec. 1, astronomical winter began Wednesday with the arrival of the winter solstice.

Meteorological seasons, based on the annual temperature cycle and the 12-month calendar, are separated into four, three-month groupings: winter is designated December-February, spring is March-May, summer is June-August, and autumn is September-November.

Astronomical seasons are based on Earth’s position relative to the sun over the course of a year and are defined by the two solstices (winter and summer), and the two equinoxes (spring/vernal and autumn).

In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter and summer solstices take place the third week in December and June, and the vernal and autumnal equinoxes take place the third week in March and September, respectively. In the Southern Hemisphere, these dates are the same, but the seasons are reversed.

A more in-depth explanation of these seasonal definitions can be found on the National Centers for Environmental Information website at

The winter solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year in terms of hours of sunlight. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration explains that at the time of solstice, “Earth reaches a point where its tilt is at the greatest angle to the plane of its orbit [around the sun], causing one hemisphere to receive more daylight than the other” (

In December, the Northern Hemisphere is tilted away from the sun and thus receives fewer hours of daylight than the Southern Hemisphere. From the time of the winter solstice and up until the summer solstice, as Earth continues along its orbital path around the sun, the Northern Hemisphere will gradually experience increasing amounts of light each day.

This cycle of seasons offers an invitation to consider the continuity and ever-changing circumstances of life. Experiences are temporary, and it’s good practice to be mindful of the ones that bring satisfaction and joy in order to take them in more fully, and to remember that the more difficult or challenging times eventually come to pass.

This may be the darkest day of the year, but the winter solstice also marks the return of light.

Amy Roby can be reached at


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