Carson City’s elderly not forgotten during the holidays | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson City’s elderly not forgotten during the holidays

Ronni Hannaman

Friends to All, Inc. volunteers pose before delivering gifts to seniors.

Whether celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, gift giving is part of the ritual established eons ago.

Though thought to originate from paganism, the Christian faith adopted the ritual represented by the gifts of the Magi to the Christ Child. In the Jewish faith, the first gifts were "gelt" (money) given to the poor to light candles to celebrate the season.

Today, whether we like it or not, giving gifts factors strongly into whether one has a "Merry Christmas."

Even one small gift can make a difference to those who may otherwise be left out of the holiday festivities.

As you make your holiday list for Santa this year, you may wish to include a gift or two to contribute to one of the many worthwhile non-profits dedicated to bringing some holiday cheer to the less fortunate. Through the Toys for Joy, Toys for Tots, Angel Tree and other such programs, children rank right on top when it comes to making their Christmas merry through donations. Christmas, after all, is about the children and in this community, we think nary a child is left out.

But, what about lonely seniors?

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As one grows older, the likelihood of being alone increases. Widows and widowers find themselves on fixed incomes that can't absorb the rising cost of living, families are scattered across the world, some are home-bound or in nursing homes and others just too shy to ask for help. For the elderly, holidays can cause depression as they recall holidays of the past.

There's a local organization sensitive to the plight of some seniors. Friends to All, Inc. exists solely to bring a bit of joy into the lives of these seniors. No one receives a salary, and all are volunteers in the truest sense of the word.

Founder Gwen Pradere states, "Since 1999, our group has been working to meet the needs of those with limited financial resources who are home bound or in care centers with little or no family nearby. Each year 150-200 visits are averaged in the Carson City area."

Volunteers, as pictured above, group into teams, each with a Santa and his helpers delivering donated items.

Pradere smiles, "The joy on the faces of those we meet when they open their door and see Santa Claus bringing a gift and having their photo taken with the jolly fellow is quite a meaningful experience!"

What makes these seniors smile? "Crossword puzzle books (large print, if possible), slipper socks, gloves, hats, scarves, handkerchiefs, lotions, lip balm, calendars, packaged small food items such as candy, cookies, or nuts, gift cards from grocery or gift stores, hair salons, barbershops, or restaurants that deliver — basically anything that a senior may be able to use are appreciated," states Pradere.

If you prefer to donate in cash, this money is used to buy much appreciated gift cards.

If you know of a senior who would appreciate some cheer on Dec. 16, wish to volunteer or donate, you can contact Gwen at 775-301-6747. Or, just drop off your unwrapped donation at one of the convenient locations below:

A+ Documents, Inc., 411 W. Third St., Suite 1 (corner of West Third and Minnesota streets)

Carson City Chamber of Commerce, 1900 S. Carson St. (by the State Railroad Museum at Fairview)

Coldwell Banker Select, 123 W. Second St. (W. Second Street, Highway 395 and Curry Streets)

Realty Executives, 1071 S. Carson St. (By Red's)

State Farm Insurance — Marilyn Lewis, 321 W. Winnie Lane, Suite 106 (Winnie and Division)

Vital Signs, 2412 S. Curry St.

6 Week Workout, 3476 Executive Pointe Way (off College Parkway)