In 1999, Raymond Smith asked me to join him in visiting seniors at a local convalescent center. He solicited casinos and businesses in town to donate small items such as decks of cards, calendars, pens, etc. for him to give as gifts to those he visited. Ray would then dress as Santa (his beard was real and so was his spirit), and we would head out to spend an afternoon bringing cheer and joy to many. As his helper, Ray asked me to use his Polaroid Camera to take a photo of each person with him that they got to keep. The gifts and visit brought so much joy to the people we saw, and they were so excited to have a photo with Santa as a keepsake!
Joining Ray that day touched my heart and I knew it was a tradition I wanted to continue. Every year the program has grown with more volunteers and more generosity from the community and more seniors to visit.
We lost Ray in September of 2014 but this program will continue to serve in his memory and his love for life and for people.
On Saturday, December 16th our volunteers will depart A+ Documents in Carson City to visit senior citizens in our community. If you know of a senior that would appreciate a visit, please contact Gwen Pradere at (775) 301-6747 or (775) 315-2484, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most everyone in Carson City knows Stan and Sue Jones, owners of The Purple Avocado. Anytime you stop in their store you are welcomed with big smiles, hugs, and genuine caring. Even “Bella” their adorable dog cheerfully greets you! There is no better place to visit if you are feeling stressed or down…I promise you that when you leave you will be feeling upbeat and happy and leaving with a warm smile on your face!
Over the years, Stan and Sue have always helped with our program. They have been donating bags for our use for many years now. This has saved us tremendously on time to prepare gifts for our visits. They also volunteer time to help us and we appreciate all they do for Friends To All and for our community!
Santa says Carol was good this year! We had a wonderful visit with this special lady. The joy our volunteers bring to the seniors in our community is truly a gift in itself. So many of our seniors have very limited opportunities to share conversations with others. The time spent in hearing stories and sharing laughter is just as important a gift as the package we deliver! If you know of a friend or neighbor or even a family member, that might appreciate a visit, please contact us! If you know of any special needs this person may have, let us know…we will do everything we can to make our visit a memorable one.
Santa has more than just his helpers….he has reindeer in the neighborhood ready to lead the teams on their visits! These beautiful creatures can be seen quite often roaming the neighborhood around our office on the west side of Carson City.
Our longtime volunteers Rich & Lori Campbell always bring smiles to the seniors on their list. Sometimes, just hearing Santa say you were good this year and that the community has sent special gifts for you touches the hearts of those we visit. Many times we see the Santa photo from the year before hanging on the fridge or sitting on a shelf…memorable visits create beautiful memories for those we see.
Volunteers make the difference…”Touching Hearts with a Visit”
Our program would not be possible without the wonderful volunteers who dedicate time and compassion. Some of our volunteers have been a part of Friends To All for over ten years! Special thanks to everyone who has helped us over the years….some behind the scenes and some right out there suited up as Santa Claus!
In the early years, we had one or two teams going out on the visits…we now average ten to twelve teams, all with a Santa Claus! Thank you to all who have participated over the years and continue to support us!
In the early days, our visits were all from out of the business location at Fountainhead Associates…now we are very appreciative to A+ Documents for use of their location at Third and Minnesota Streets. We are still on the west side of town and are very blessed to have the support of the community for our program.
Many of those we visit have little or no family living nearby. Our visits bring them joy and a time to share their story with us. This is Paul. We have visited with him for more than five years and each time we see him he shares stories of his life. He is a very interesting man and we hope we have given him as much joy and cheer as he has to us!