Spreading cheer

By Bill Schlichting, Pilot staff writer December 22, 2010 05:00 am

Santas, elves and reindeer pose in front of Dollar Dog busses used to transport the well-wishers to care facilities. The Pilot/Bill Schlichting
Mrs. Claus, several Santas, elves (and a couple of reindeer to drive the sleighs) visited five care facilities in Brookings-Harbor Saturday to spread Christmas cheer.

The annual event, hosted by the Brookings-Harbor Lions Club, began in a storeroom at Fred Meyer. There, the 20 participants, including one Pilot reporter, donned their costumes. Most dressed as Santa Claus.

With song sheets in hand, the group walked through the store warming up their voices and greeting customers. They then boarded Chetco Federal Credit Union’s Dollar Dog busses, driven by CFCU employees in reindeer costumes, and headed for the first stop: Ocean Park (formerly Oceanic Meadows and Parkview Special Care).

The Santas and their crew were led to the activities room where residents were awaiting their arrival. Many smiles were brought to the faces of those in the room. A few also joined in singing the songs.

After a stop to carol through the halls of Macklyn House, the visitors from the North Pole ventured to Curry Good Samaritan Center where residents were already singing Christmas carols in the activities room. The arrival of the Santas added to the festivities.

A walk a couple of doors down to Chetco Inn also found many smiles from residents.

The jovial participants boarded the busses and headed across the river to Sea View Senior Living Community and greeted residents in the main and memory-care-facility dining rooms. Following the singing of songs, the Santas, elves and reindeer divided up between the dining rooms to have lunch with the residents.

The annual event started several years ago when volunteers donned Santa suits and ran or walked Highway 101 from Brookings Inn Resort to the shopping centers in Harbor. Soon the event became a Santa walk with stops at merchants along the way.

More recently, the walk took the Santas through the grocery stores in Brookings and to Macklyn House, Good Sam and Chetco Inn in a walk that ended at Azalea Park.

This year the busses were provided, giving the Santas more time to spend with residents at the nursing homes.