Friends To All again doing Santa gift gig for seniors at mid-month
About 200 seniors will enjoy visits this month from Santa, receive gifts and be photographed with the red-clad Mr. Claus thanks to the nonprofit group Friends To All, Inc.The Carson City-based firm spearheads such visits to area seniors who are homebound, or in care centers and have little or no family nearby. It is the group’s 14th year, with key dates Dec. 12 and 15.Wrap night starts 5 p.m. on Wednesday at Fountainhead Associates, Inc., 312 W. Fourth St., and the gifts will be delivered Dec. 15. “Some people are just lonely; financially, they’re fine,” said Gwen Currie Pradere of Fountainhead, who started the nonprofit firm and coordinates the effort. Whatever the seniors’ circumstances, she said, they love the holiday contact. Volunteers also enjoy it, agreeing it is a meaningful experience.Currie Pradere said she hopes to get the word out to garner volunteers for wrap night next Wednesday, as well as swell the ranks of those willing to don Santa outfits and deliver gifts the following Saturday. She also seeks names of seniors who might enjoy a visit. She can be contacted at her Fountainhead office by calling 775-884-0180.Wrap night isn’t as much scissors, paper and bows as in the early years, she said, because The Purple Avocado gift shop provides bags and has for several years. She said the night involves bagging and tagging donated gifts for males or females and sorting through them as prep for delivery.Her group works closely with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) to call on many of their clients and utilize the program’s volunteers as Santa’s helpers. Monetary gifts are welcomed, along with small gift items, and funds raised are used to supply seniors who need them with grocery store gift cards. Monetary donations are made out to RSVP, though they must be earmarked “Friends To All.”Currie Pradere said the effort was inspired by Ray Smith, a Santa she accompanied on visits to care centers once in the 1990s, which led to the nonprofit’s formation.She shared treasured memories of prior years by going through scrapbooks filled with photos and thank-you notes.“Your generosity is greatly appreciated by my residents,” a manager at Carson Nursing and Rehabilitation on Highway 50 East wrote after excess items were dropped off there last year.“Everything goes,” said Currie Pradere, noting she abandoned the policy in earlier years of keeping excess donated items for the following holiday season.Suggested donations include large-print crossword puzzle books, slipper socks, gloves, hats, scarves, handkerchiefs, packaged food items, lotions or other personal care items.Clothing items that are sized aren’t recommended because Friends To All has no pertinent information regarding sizes prior to visits.You Can HelpFor more information about Friends To All or to volunteer, call Gwen Currie Pradere at 775-884-0180.