Karel C. Ancona
For the Nevada Appeal

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December 8, 2012
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Cookies with Santa event to benefit Ron Wood Family Resource Center

Get into the spirit of Christmas by attending the third annual Cookies with Santa benefit event for the Ron Wood Family Resource Center on Dec. 15 at Adele's.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., families are invited to dine on cookies, cocoa and cider and meet with Santa, while providing for children in need in the community.

"This has been such a joyful success each year, created by and through the collaboration of businesses and donations of services," said Charlie Abowd, Cafe at Adele's chef and co-owner with his wife, Karen. "This is an opportunity to enjoy a wonderful family day with your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews in a Christmas environment with Santa, all the while making a less fortunate child's Christmas a happier one."

In prior years, the Dowell Boys have donated their time to play music. Due to their own work schedules, it is unclear whether they'll be performing live but at least, their Christmas CD will fill the air with familiar songs. Their parents, Trent and Laurie Dowell, will be on-site providing free photos with Santa.

"You know, Charlie is like the Pied Piper of people," Trent said. "He brings everyone along and that's how we got involved. We heard about Cookies with Santa in the beginning and asked to be a part of this."

Trent, who jokes that his photography business is currently a nonprofit organization, takes the photos while Laurie prints them out on the spot. Families will leave with a memento of the day.

"We have a great Santa and it's a laid-back, comfortable environment where we can take pictures when the little ones are ready," he said. "It eliminates having to go (to a studio) and be rushed even if the kids aren't prepared.

"This is a very little thing we do and you couldn't pay me enough to compensate for what I receive by participating in Cookies with Santa ... It's amazing."

Tom Strekal is Santa, a role he fills for a variety of events (Polar Express, at Walmart for Military Heroes) and finds this one of the most fulfilling.

"I love the atmosphere (Charlie) creates and the luxury of time with the kids," Strekal said. "We work with them at their own pace, lure them in - even the child peeking around their parent - and make them comfortable with a big, loud guy."

Strekal recalled a little girl last year who was terrified of Santa at first. Given time, she was so comfortable she came back for a second visit and brought her friends.

"Her mother was amazed, because her daughter was afraid of men," Strekal said. "It is powerful in other ways and it is gratifying to have time to give that attention to the kids and (Charlie) comes across as such a loveable man and that shows in his customer base and in the community response to this event."

The Ron Wood Family Resource Center helps individuals and families to locate assistance and provides an array of support services.

"This is an organization Karen and I feel very strongly about supporting," Abowd said. "This gets back to the idea that if we all do a little, we can make a big difference."

Cafe at Adele's is located at 1112 N. Carson St., Carson City. For more information, visit adelesrestaurantandlounge.com or call 775-882-3353.


WHAT: Third annual Cookies with Santa to benefit Ron Wood Family Resource Center

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 15

Where: Adele's, 1112 N. Carson St.

For more information: For more information, visit adelesrestaurantandlounge.com or call 775-882-3353

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Dec 8, 2012 04:01AM Published Dec 8, 2012 03:57AM Copyright 2012 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.