‘Tis the season to spread holiday cheer
If you do any kind of shopping in the Carson Valley, then you have surely seen the special trees that always pop up this time of year.
They are filled with paper angels, but these angels aren’t simply ornaments. These angels bear the wishes of some special children in Douglas County.
The trees are part of Project Santa Claus. This is an outreach program that helps grant holiday wishes for many children, newborn through age 15, here in our valley.
Anyone can select an angel from a tree and help make Christmas memorable for a local child.
What I discovered last December is that in addition to the trees, there are other ways that one can contribute to this wonderful program.
Around this time last year, I headed out to the Douglas County Fairgrounds where Project Santa Claus was headquartered, to volunteer my time. I went by myself and wasn’t sure what to expect.
When I stepped inside the building, I might as well have stepped into the middle of Santa’s workshop at the North Pole.
All sorts of people buzzed about, doing everything from wrapping gifts and organizing books to coordinating the pick-up area.
After a moment, I was greeted with a hearty “Welcome! Merry Christmas!” from the Head Elf Marilyn Malkmus. Actually, I learned that Marilyn is the coordinator for Project Santa Claus, but the broad smile on her face and her enthusiastic voice made me think of a cheery Christmas elf.
I started by wrapping gifts at a large table with other volunteers. Before long, we were all sharing stories.
We talked about ourselves, our families, holiday traditions, and some of us even swapped recipes.
The space heaters, hot apple cider, and lots of laughter kept us warm.
I had originally planned to volunteer for a couple of hours that day, but it was so much fun that I went back the following Monday to help out again.
The time I spent volunteering got me out of the “hustle and bustle” of the season and left me full of happiness and hope.
What’s so exciting is that this opportunity presents itself each year. Volunteers ages eight and up are welcome to come out to the fairgrounds Dec. 16-18 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Also, volunteers are needed on Dec. 20 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. All you need to do is show up and be ready to have some fun.
If you are unable to volunteer your time, the program can use other kinds of assistance, as well. You can donate used warm clothing in good condition at one of six drop-off locations through Dec. 10.
Those location include M. Scott Properties, Raley’s Camera Department, R&T Cleaners on Lampe Drive, Carson Valley Medical Center, Douglas County Senior Center, and t 4-H Cooperative Extension office on Waterloo Lane.
Project Santa Claus also accepts donations of new books, as every child in the program receives not only an item they wished for, but also a brand new book.
New this year is a drive for mittens and hats to accompany the gifts from children’s wish lists.
Additionally, there is a need for new bike helmets to go with the refurbished bikes that are donated from various local organizations.
Of course, cash donations are always welcome and are used to purchase last minute gift requests.
If you have any questions, call Marilyn Malkmus at 782-4931. I hope to see you out there!
— Amy Roby can be reached at RanchosRoundup@hotmail.com.