Needs will be great this Christmas | NevadaAppeal.com

Needs will be great this Christmas

Rhonda Costa
Appeal Staff Writer

Cathleen Allison/Nevada AppealSalvation Army Red Kettle ringer DJ Morina says that more people seem to stop and make a donation when they see him having fun. Morina tosses the bell under his leg, juggles and plays with the bell in front of Gottschalks on Tuesday.

Red kettles are out. Toys for Tots donation barrels are out. Requests for food items are on the rise.

More than ever before, social services agencies are in need of assistance from those who can provide it.

“We have lots of stuff going on,” said Capt. Erica Helton of the Carson City Salvation Army. “It’s been crazy. “We just last week got food out for families for Thanksgiving and our red kettles have gone out.” Helton said they need more volunteers to ring the bell at the kettle and businesses to host Angel Trees and food barrels.

“People are encouraging charity and we’re appreciative of that” Helton said. “But donations are down, which is a sign on the economy. And with the unemployment rate up more people are at our doors. They don’t know how to fill the needs of their family.”

DJ Morina, 28, of Carson City, was busy ringing and juggling the bell in front of Gottschalk’s Tuesday afternoon. His engaging smile and greetings to shoppers were warmly welcomed by those passing by as they dropped change into the familiar red kettle.

“My best buddy’s wife organizes the bell ringers,” Morina said. “I told her I’d sign up to help and decided to do it for the duration.”

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Morina said it took him a full day to learn to toss the bell from under his leg and catch it as it turned in the air. His hacky-sack skills also come in handy when he loses grip on the bell to keep it from hitting the ground.

“It gives the people a little show,” he said.

Morina works evenings as a cook at Firkin and Fox and is able to work around that schedule to ring the bell for The Salvation Army.

Helton said the community can help by adopting the children whose names are on tags on the Angel Trees. The trees are in all Bank of America locations in Carson City, the Secretary of State’s office and Western Nevada College. Helton said there are plenty of ages who need to be adopted.

“We do need assistance with toys,” she said. “And with volunteer bell ringers. And food, of course, canned or non-perishable food.”

Helton also said the concern is having enough food in their pantry to meet the needs of area families.

There will also be a Celebrity Bell Ringing Challenge on Dec. 13.

“We need people, groups, to step up to the plate for the challenge,” she said. “The winner will get a plaque and recognized at a luncheon.”

Kim Reynolds at Clayton Homes Mound House is trying to fill a 400 square-foot home with food to be donated to the Ron Wood Family Resource Center. Clayton Homes is at 10050 Highway 50 East, on the north side of the highway.

“Bless her heart for doing this for us,” said Joyce Buckingham, director of Ron Wood Family Resource Center.

Jenny Scanland, a volunteer fundraiser with Court Appointed Special Advocates, said CASA is holding a gift card fundraiser during an open house from 5:30-9 p.m. Dec. 11 at Comma Coffee, 312 S. Carson St.

Scanland said they are only requesting gift cards, not gifts, and they will go to all foster children, not just CASA kids.

“I still believe in the spirit of St. Nicholas because he did focus on taking care of children,” Scanland said. “That’s what we in the community are doing.”

Scanland said there are more than 70 kids in the foster care or relative care programs through the state and that number may grow before Christmas, and the children range in age from babies to 18.

“We never know how many are going to end up in foster homes before Christmas. We just don’t know.”

– Contact Rhonda Costa at rcosta@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1223.

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