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Project Santa Claus makes Christmas brighter for some area children

by Rosemarie Middendorf

Project Santa Claus is once again looking forward to making Christmas brighter for those less fortunate children of the Carson Valley.

The project was founded in 1988 and operates under the auspices of the Carson Valley Community Food Closet. All recipient families are interviewed and approved by the staff of the Douglas County Social Services Department, according to Marilyn Malkmus, director. The program has grown from 186 children in 1988 to 731 in 1998.

The program now in its 11th year, matches less fortunate children of Douglas County with a sponsoring person, family, group, club, church or business.

Several businesses in the area will display Angel Trees beginning in mid-November. Paper “angels” with a child’s first name, age, sex, sizes and choice of one toy or one item of clothing on them will be placed on the trees. You are asked to select an angel, purchase the gift, wrap the gift, attach the angel to the front of the package for identification and return it to the store where you selected the angel. People may choose as many angels as they wish.

This project could be a good way to teach a child the joy of Christmas by having him or her assist in the selection of an angel. We are never to young to learn to share.

The Kiwanis Chub of Gardnerville and Minden recently kicked off the group’s annual wheels collection, where residents may donate any bicycle, tricycle, wagon or scooter, new or used (in good condition).

The wheels may be dropped off at the town of Gardnerville office, 1369 Highway 395 (placed them by the blue trash cans) or at the Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District office, 931 Mitch Dr., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

If you can’t deliver the wheels, call for a pickup to Willie Kersey, 265-6494.

The Kiwanis collection is assisted by the youths at China Spring Youth Camp, who make repairs on the donated items along with the help of youths from the Rite of Passage Training Camp. This is the eighth year the Kiwanis Club has sponsored the program. Every year, some 100 bikes have been distributed at Christmas through this project.

Winter clothing – jackets, coats, sweaters, boots, shoes, gloves and scarves in good wearable condition – are also being sought for children and adults. Clothing bins will be available at various locations in the Valley.

All items will be distributed to families the week before Christmas at the Douglas County Fairgrounds by a team of volunteers.

All donations are tax deductible. Cash donations are used to purchase gifts for any children not sponsored.

For information, call Marilyn Malkmus, 782-4931.