Students spread Christmas cheer to seniors |

Students spread Christmas cheer to seniors

Douglas High juniors Cassidy Romine and Dominique Alexander present a gift bag to Bernice Maxfield Thursday as part of Young At Heart's holiday gift bag event.
Brad Coman |

Douglas High School’s National Junior Honors Society students put on their Santa hats and delivered 70 Christmas gifts to homebound seniors Thursday in Gardnerville and Minden.

“We’re just spreading some Christmas cheer,” said junior Megan Perry.

Young at Heart was able to fill more than 200 Holiday Bags for senior citizens this year through the generosity of the community, YAH member Paul Lockwood said.

The nonprofit organization out of the Carson Valley Community and Senior Center, has been providing the service for at least 10 years and collected donations to fill the bags during a course of two months.

The gift bags contained handmade pillows and blankets, cards, a 2018 calendar, puzzle books, shampoo, ChapStick, socks, food and more.

Steve and Sandy Bolger donated 200 comfort pillows and the Women PEO organization and Starbucks Roasting Plant both donated miscellaneous items such as shampoo, Kleenex, socks, and batteries.

“Every day for a month straight I was filling my car with donations,” said YAH member Doug Petersen. Petersen and his wife, Cindy, coordinated the project. “We simply love doing this and we had such a huge response from the community this year it was just awesome to see.”

Most of the recipients are beneficiaries of Meals on Wheels, which delivers meals to homebound individuals in Douglas County, including Topaz and Tahoe, Lockwood said.

“The gifts are often the only thing the individual receives for the holiday and they seem to appreciate the thoughtfulness and enjoy the involvement from the high school,” Lockwood said.

The high school students have been helping spread holiday cheer for almost as long as YAH has been involved with the project, said Petersen.

“It’s a really great opportunity and a great way to get into the Christmas spirit,” said junior Dominique Alexander.

Aside from giving the gift, some students sang Christmas carols, gave hugs and brought a smile to the individual just for showing up.

“I was a recipient last year and I absolutely love it. It’s wonderful and I appreciate it all,” said Aspen Park resident Bernice Maxfield.

Many of the recipients said the thought behind the gesture is special enough.

“I think it’s just a beautiful and wonderful thing they do and I am always appreciative,” Gardnerville resident Tony Hernandez said.

Lockwood said the rest of the bags were distributed in Topaz Ranch Estates, Johnson Lane and Indian Hills by Young At Heart members.