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Project Santa kicks off gift-giving season

by Rosemarie Middendorf

It is time to start giving thought to “Sharing the Joy” of Christmas for those less fortunate. Project Santa Claus, in its 13th year as an affiliate of the Carson Valley Community Food Closet, is gearing up for the annual collection and distribution.

The program provided gifts for 188 children in 1988 to 788 children of Douglas County in 1999, according to Marilyn Malkmus, director since 1995.

There are several ways in which you can participate. You may donate winter clothing, such as coats, jackets, sweaters, hats, scarves, gloves, boots and shoes (in good condition only). Clothing will be collected for babies, children and adults. Barrels will be distributed throughout the Valley where one may drop off these new or barely used items.

Bicycles, wagons, scooters and tricycles new and used (in good condition) may be dropped off at the Town of Gardnerville office, 1369 Highway 395, or at the Gardnerville General Improvement District building, 931 Mitch Dr. The Gardnerville/Carson Valley Kiwanis Club will pick up all donated vehicles and provide funds for the vehicles that need minor repairs, which will be done by the young men at China Spring Youth Camp. For information, contact Jerry Rasmussen, 265-9406.

A variety of businesses in Carson Valley will display Christmas Trees decorated with paper “angels” provided by Project Santa Claus. The angels will bear the first name of a child, gender, age, size and choice of one toy or one item of clothing. You may select the angel of your choice, purchase a gift, wrap the gift, attach the paper angel to the package for identification and return the gift to the location at which you selected the angel. This process is called “sponsoring” a child. If you belong to a club or group, have a business or would like to sponsor more than one child, you are free to do this also. Contact Marilyn Malkmus at 782-4931.

This process also provides a great way for young children to become involved in helping others. They may help select the child.

All gifts and wheeled items will be distributed to the families in the week before Christmas at the Douglas County Fairgrounds on Pinenut Road in Gardnerville by a team of volunteers.

All recipient families are interviewed and approved by the staff at Douglas County Social Services, according to Malkmus.