Craig Kiwanis Club Santa visits bring holiday cheer to area seniors | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig Kiwanis Club Santa visits bring holiday cheer to area seniors

Nurses and residents at Sandrock Ridge Care and Rehabilitation Center were visited by Santa and Craig Kiwanis Club elves, who gave out flowers, candy canes and hugs.

— Santa has helpers this week as members of the Craig Kiwanis Club dressed up as the jolly old elf to deliver flowers, cookies, cakes and candy canes to area elders.

"We visit a lot of seniors," said Kiwanis Club of Craig President Jim Ferree. "It's always a lot of fun and they are real happy to see us."

The club has been making Santa visits for over 25 years, said Pete Pleasant, long-time club member.

While club members are notorious for dressing-up for their annual community play, they are less well known for their work at Christmas when a group of between 10 to 15 club members takes turns playing the role of Santa.

"The play and the Yahoo Golf Tournament are the major fundraisers," Ferree said. "Most of the money goes to the scholarship fund, but we also raise money for the events."

This year Trapper Mine donated boxes of cookies and as in past years, Moffat County High School students who belong to the Kiwanis-sponsored Key Club wrapped the goodies in gift paper.

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The Kiwanis Santas and their elves will reach more than 100 people visiting Horizons Specialized Services, Sunset Meadows, Sandrock Ridge Care and Rehabilitation and seniors living on their own, Pleasant said.

Over the years the visits have changed.

"We originally did this on a Sunday afternoon," Pleasant said. "At first we didn't have a Santa Claus. We'd just give a little something and sometimes we shovel the walks."

When Sunday afternoon football became popular the club had to change the time of visits to avoid the entire crew of volunteer Santa's staying home to watch the game, Pleasant said.

Club members feel that visiting area seniors help them through holidays that can be lonely for the elderly.

"For lack of a better word, the people we visit at home are shut-ins, these are people who are bachelors or widows. Some are still married and they don't get out a lot. They often have meals on wheels. We take them by a gift box of cookies or candy canes," Pleasant said.

In a letter to the editor published on Dec. 22, 2010 Loretta Miesner wrote, "Tuesday evening on Dec. 14, I opened my front door to find Santa and two elves from the Kiwanis Club with a gift for me. I don't know why I was selected to receive a gift, but it was a lovely gesture. I thank all who were responsible. Thank you, Kiwanis."

Just like Santa, Pleasant is responsible for keeping a list of naughty and nice seniors in Craig.

It's not an easy job and he's not confident that they visit as many seniors as they should, he said. "There are more people out there that we don't know about."

If you are aware of a senior living on their own who might enjoy a visit from the Kiwanis Santas, to have their name added to the list, call Pete Pleasant at 970-326-6276.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.