Cookies with Santa benefits Carson City outreach center



Thanks to big hearts and the spirit of giving, the fifth annual Cookies with Santa, a benefit for Ron Wood Family Resource Center’s holiday fund, takes place Saturday, Dec. 13, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Café at Adele’s.

Children of all ages are invited to enjoy complimentary hot cider, hot chocolate, coffee and cookies, visit with and have their picture taken with Santa, while helping provide Christmas for children in need.

“Cookies with Santa has been so successful each year and Ron Wood Family Resource Center is an organization Karen and I feel strongly about supporting,” said Charlie Abowd, chef and co-owner of Café at Adele’s with his wife, Karen. “It grew from the idea that if we all do a little, we can make a huge difference and today, the need is just as great as ever.”

Ron Wood collaborates with the community in assisting the people of Carson City, without having to provide eligibility requirements, in obtaining fundamental needs including emergency food supplies.

Each year Trent and Laurie Dowell provide the photography, donating their time and printing materials.

“I get so much out of more out of doing Cookies with Santa, than I give,” Trent said. “Sometimes I feel guilty for how much joy I get from participating, and thanks to my wife helping me with the printing, we keep things going pretty smoothly.”

In order to accommodate demand for photos, families will receive their first photo at no cost and on site. Reprints will be available at Trent’s photo site and proceeds from all orders also will be donated to Ron Wood’s holiday fund.

The Dowell Boys — Corey and Randy — will perform Christmas carols for those in attendance.

And of course, the event wouldn’t be what it is without Northern Nevada’s favorite Santa, Tom Strekal being on hand to visit with the children.

Strekal, who fills this role for The Virginia & Truckee Railroad’s Polar Express and other venues, counts Cookies with Santa as one of his favorites.

“I look forward to it every year because it is an opportunity to establish a connection with the kids,” he said. “Even on The Polar Express, there may be a grumpy teenager who doesn’t want to be there, and I get them to see it doesn’t hurt to smile or make the bell ring.”

Strekal loves Cookies with Santa in large part, because there are no time pressures on the children.

“We are able to deal with them on their terms and in their time,” Tom said. “And I don’t think I ever ask what they want for Christmas; we talk about other things. I feel very fortunate to have been asked to do this in the beginning, as being Santa has revealed things about myself to myself I had not known before.”

Everyone is invited to celebrate the spirit of the season and make this a wonderful time of year for a special child.

“You know, we all get so much joy out of this and I would like the community to know how much Charlie gives,” Trent said. “I don’t think they know how much he helps our community and the difference that makes.”

Admission is $5 for adults and free for children. Every adult is asked to bring an unwrapped gift. All cash and gifts collected will help Ron Wood provide Christmas for children in need in Carson City.

Café at Adele’s is located at 1112 N. Carson St. For more information, go to, or call 775-882-3353.


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