Spirit of Santa | TheUnion.com

Spirit of Santa

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The Newcomers Club of Nevada County has been dedicated to giving a helping hand to those citizens having difficulty “making ends meet,” especially during the holidays.

Ten years ago, these efforts became the Christmas Families Project — continuing the Spirit of Santa Claus.

Originally Santa’s name was St. Nicholas, who was born in the third century in Patara, Greece (which is now on the southern coast of Turkey). At a very young age, he became a bishop and was known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need and his love for children. Through the centuries, the stories and legends told about St. Nicholas’ extraordinary character have inspired the spirit of caring and giving. And so St. Nicholas is the patron and protector children.

Whether the symbol of the Christmas spirit is called Le Pere Noel, Father Christmas, Sinterklaas, On Gia No En or Santa Claus, in any language, it is the legacy of St. Nicholas that lives on.

It is that type of legacy that the Newcomers Christmas Families Project brings to the western Nevada County community. Most of the Newcomers Club’s recipients are selected from Women of Worth (women of domestic violence and families in crisis) and Nevada County Social Services (Child Protective Services). In 2011, 71 children received gifts from Christmas Families Project. The 2012 target is 71 to 76 children. So far, 11 families, (33 children) have been distributed to our Newcomers Shoppers.

A unique aspect to the project is the “Wish List.”

One family of a mom and child were one of the club’s Christmas Families for several years. A single mom who worked, cared for her child and went to school with the goal of becoming a professional in the medical field. A parent was in a terrible accident and her dreams were set aside while she cared for her parent. Eventually she was able to complete her education and her dream is a reality.

A Women of Worth family’s mother, who had fled a domestic violence situation, told the Newcomer’s Club that their generosity of giving them a Christmas “made a difference.” The child is now in college, and mom has a job. She is giving back to WOW through volunteer support.

Another domestic violence situation brought a family to Nevada County with children wearing sandals (there was snow on the ground) and no coats. Boots, shoes, coats and even warm clothes for mom were purchased. Newcomers did an “early Christmas” for this family.

“Thank you so much for your generosity,” one family wrote to the club, “for the giving and caring spirit through your actions. Without your help, we would not have had a Christmas (with presents) this year. Because of you, the kids still believe in the magic of Christmas and so do I.”

With the “wish lists in hand, the Christmas Families Project shoppers have begun the “hunt” for the desired gifts. The Newcomers Club will attempt to only give new or “like new” items to the children and parents. Donations are welcomed and greatly appreciated.

For information regarding the “Wish List” please call (530) 478-1338.

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