Project Santa volunteers wrap gifts |

Project Santa volunteers wrap gifts

by Caryn Haller
Special to The R-C
Two members of Valley Christian Fellowship's congregation wrap presents at Project Santa Claus on Sunday.
Caryn Haller

Giving up her time to wrap toy trucks, dolls, skateboards and Hatchimals was an easy choice for Gardnerville teenager Kahlea Hulsey.

The 13-year-old was one of many volunteers at the fairgrounds Sunday putting the finishing touches on this year’s 32nd Project Santa Claus.

“I was given presents last year from Project Santa Claus, and I want to pay it forward this year,” Hulsey said. “It made me feel appreciated because I had presents. It’s good to be kind to others.”

Sponsored by the Kiwanis, Lions, Sertoma, Rotary, 20/30 and Aktion Clubs along with dozens of volunteers, Project Santa Claus provides Christmas presents for 187 families and 450 children.

This was Alecia Gifford’s first year volunteering to wrap presents.

As a former gift wrapper for Macy’s, Gifford said the key is cutting the right size paper and folding the edges neatly.

“It’s nice to wrap these things nicely for the kids and imagine them opening them on Christmas morning,” the Minden resident said. “Every year I think I need to do this, so this year, I made it a priority to help.”

Daunelle Wulstein had her hands full organizing the volunteers and making sure each wrapped present passed inspection.

The Gardnerville resident moved from South Lake Tahoe six years ago, and was looking for a community project to get involved with.

“I found out about Project Santa Claus last year, and am blown away by the generosity of the community, volunteers and this crew here,” she said.

Aktion Club member Nicole Mendez, 24, enjoyed being in charge of the tape as she and her mom, Dana, wrapped dozens of gifts Sunday.

“Being in the Aktion Club, volunteering is what we do,” Dana said. “It’s a lot of fun and really rewarding. She (Nicole) loves to help.”

Sunday was the first day of volunteers flowing through the fairgrounds wrapping hundreds of gifts donated by the community.

“It’s crazy, but it’s fun and I like the challenge,” Wulstein added. “I’m so excited to be a part of another amazing community.”