Friends To All sends Santas out in Carson City for contact with seniors

Santas come and Santas go, in this case to visit seniors throughout Carson City.

Volunteers playing Santa came to Fountainhead Associates on Saturday, collected gift boxes and fanned out around the city to visit more than 100 senior citizens, who have little or no family living nearby.

Ray Smith, inspiration for the program operated by Gwen Currie Pradere of Fountainhead, was there for the organization and a group photo. He praised the woman who got the annual visits going in 1999.

"She has just been a doll," Smith said. For her part, Currie Pradere looks upon him as the inspiration for her not-for-profit volunteer organization because she went with him on similar visits back in 1998.

Volunteers in teams, some dressed in Santa Claus regalia and others in Santa's Helper outfits, got their marching orders at the downtown business location and then scattered throughout the community.

The seniors selected didn't know the visit - which was lined up in part with the help of Retired Senior Volunteer Program - was imminent.

But since 1999, when homebound or care center elderly people have gotten a visit, many a smile accompanied it. The visit always includes gifts and a photo opportunity with the red clad Claus character.

Gifts can include crossword puzzle books, some in large print; personal care items; calendars; packaged foods, such as candy, cookies or nuts; and clothing items that aren't sized - gloves, hats, scarves.

Friends To All, Inc., a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation, seeks smaller items that are easy for volunteers to deliver.

If money is donated, it becomes grocery store gift cards for the seniors who get visited. Such donations must go to RSVP but be earmarked Friends To All.

Any excess after the set up visits are concluded goes to care centers or elsewhere in the community so that everything donated finds a senior who can use it.

The money and gifts are donations supplied by local individuals or businesses, which are appreciated when they reach the recipient.

But volunteers have learned the visit and photo are key, according to Currie Pradere, adding to the event for seniors with limited financial resources and little or no family around during the holiday season.


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