Courtesy of the Kiwanis Club of Carson Valley
GARDNERVILLE, Nev., November 18, 2014 — Project Santa Claus, a volunteer organization in its 25th year of lending a hand to Douglas County children in need, is getting ready for the holidays.
The Project Santa Claus program supported by donations from individuals and businesses provides Christmas gifts to Douglas County children in need from newborn through age 15. Children are pre-qualified through Douglas County Social Services, Washoe Tribal Social Services, the Family Support Council, CASA, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, and special needs presented by the local churches.
Project Santa Claus is not affiliated with Toys for Tots. Signups have started at the Carson Valley Community Food Closet. After presenting their voucher each parent expresses 2 wishes of approximately $30 each for each of their children and in most cases these reasonably priced wishes are placed on Angel Trees and the trees are placed throughout the community. Businesses and service clubs take these and distribute them within their organizations. Each child also receives new books and younger children receive a new hat and mittens.
Members of the community then take the Angel wish and purchase the item. Unwrapped gifts are also collected for late signups, wrapped and then distributed to the families. Its our mission that every child gets at least 2 gifts.
If you prefer to give a cash donation these proceeds will be used to purchase gifts for the unclaimed Angels or children who didn’t receive 2 gifts. Last year between the shortfall of gifts, books, hats and mittens we spent $4000 filling these needs. Also, more than 170 people volunteered during the 10 days we were at the fairgrounds helping with wrapping, sorting and with distribution to the families. Because children are with their parents during distribution day or when they arrive home all the packages have been placed in discrete Black bags.
A team of Project Santa Claus volunteers will distribute the gifts to the families a few days before Christmas. Last year, 664 children from 276 Douglas County families received Christmas presents, and organizers are expecting to have close to same number of children signed up this year. The past 24 years over 18,000 children have benefited from Project Santa Claus.
Part of the Project Santa Claus tradition is providing new and rebuilt bicycles and tricycles. Over the years an average of 175 bikes have been given out each year. The Kiwanis Club’s bicycle project is a unique collaborative effort with China Spring Youth Camp. Bicycles are collected throughout the year and transported to China Spring Youth Camp, which is a treatment facility dedicated to helping youth from 12 to 18 years old stop the progression of problems caused by delinquent behavior. The residents of the camp refurbish the bikes with parts and materials provided by the Kiwanis Club and last year they had a grand opening of a new bike repair facility complete with 8-bike stations. Each
station is equipped with tools and a bike stand needed to repair the bikes. These refurbished bicycles are then donated to Project Santa Claus and a helmet is provided with each bike and each riding gift. At this time we are not in the need of repairable bikes. Also, instrumental in providing bikes is the Maintenance Department at Minden’s Starbucks Roasting Plant. The employees, with financial help from Starbucks, repair bikes on their own time. This year they are trying to form a partnership with other businesses to provide new bikes.
The project needs volunteers to sort, consolidate, and wrap presents at the Douglas County Fairgrounds Pavilion Building. The pavilion will be open December 14th to 17th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is no schedule and no advance sign up; just show up. Groups and organizations need to make advance arrangements. We are calling on all the service groups, non-profits and the community to be involved. Project Santa Claus is counting on the generosity of local businesses and churches to provide the volunteers lunch each day. Coffee, water and snacks are also needed.
Monetary donations may be mailed to Project Santa Claus at P.O. Box 3031, Gardnerville, NV. 89410. Contributions are tax deductible. Project Santa Claus is an IRS 501 (c)(3) organization under Carson Valley Kiwanis Foundation ID No. 27-3581522.
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