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The Giving Season
by Tribune Staff
Dec 24, 2012 | 3457 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Contributed photo - Sparks Fire Captain Jim Kindness (back left) and firefighter Tyler Gayton (back right) shares smiles and gifts with the Chambers family children during a recent charity stop.
Contributed photo - Sparks Fire Captain Jim Kindness (back left) and firefighter Tyler Gayton (back right) shares smiles and gifts with the Chambers family children during a recent charity stop.
SPARKS — For 14 years the Sparks Fire Department members have taken it upon themselves to ensure a few merry Christmas for local families in need.

Through its partnership with Washoe County Social Services, the SFD selects a few families to help provide Christmas gifts for children. Battalion Chief Barry Hagen said the funds come by the passion for helping the community inside the department.

“Sparks Fire Department personnel donate all the funds for the gifts, do all the shopping and wrapping of the gifts and then deliver them to the families,” Hagen said. “This program has been very successful and has made many smiles for the families. They are always so thankful and appreciative.”

Hagen said the fire department will always give the children warm clothes, shoes and a few toys when they arrive at the houses. The children of the Chambers and Ruiz families received gifts this year and offered a special surprise for Hagen and his team.

“The kids from the two families today gave the firefighters a few homemade Christmas tree ornaments and a toy fire truck,” he said. “We hung the Christmas tree ornaments on our small tree in the fire dept, and asked the youngest kid if he could take care of the toy fire engine.”

The Sparks Fire Department was not the only Sparks business helping out others this holiday season. It’s My Community Store founder and CEO Jenifer Rose worked closely with Dawn Ligon, founder of and owner of Vintage, A Wine Shop, to chauffer 56 people around Sparks and Reno for the inaugural Shop N Style event.

The event allowed participants to shop at local businesses while raising $1,200 to donate to Project Solution, a local non-profit organization tailored to helping at-risk children. Project Solution lost its funding from the City of Reno and was forced to become a fully volunteer-based organization.

“The kids are great. They volunteer their time in building to keep the facilities clean and to help with operations. We just need more adults to help manage and supervise these ambitious and motivated young people,” said Palkin Zed, executive director. “The biggest thing we need is funding for heating and lighting the building because that is our biggest expense. The things we can’t get donated are our heating oil and our electric bill.”

Rose said the Shop N Style event showed great success and she is looking forward to hosting the event in the future to benefit local organizations.

“I am particularly proud of this event because we were able to keep holiday shoppers in locally owned stores as well as raise over $1,200 for a great organization like Project Solution,” Rose said. “Project Solution really needs community support right now and I was glad we could be there for them. The tickets for the shopping days sold out in 48 hours and the shoppers on the Reno Tahoe Limousine party bus had a great time.”

Dolan Automotive Group owners Tom and Ryan Dolan also offered major funds to Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada (CCNN) and the Food Bank of Northern Nevada this holiday season. The Dolan’s presented each group with a $20,000 check to help serve needy families in the region.

“This is an incredibly kind gift from one of our biggest donors,” said Laurie Gorris, Associate Director at CCNN. “With this donation, we can provide about 11,000 people with a hot, nutritious meal in our St. Vincent’s Dining Room. We are very grateful.”

The two organizations are currently serving record numbers of families and individuals requiring emergency services to provide necessities, according to a press release from the CCNN. The organization said it serves an average of about 580 people each day.
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