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Christmas tradition brings smiles to elderly
Precision Automotive owners Shelly and Chris Kohl along with their grandson Andrew place names on the Angel Tree. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

A nearly decade-long Christmas tradition at Precision Auto continues. It’s a gift-giving project that has brought miles of smiles to patients and residents at Manteca Care and Rehabilitation Center every year.
Taking part in this tradition of sharing the spirit of Christmas is as simple as picking an ornament or two, or more, from the Giving Tree at Precision Auto. Each one-dimensional colorful ornament contains the name of a resident at Manteca Care and Rehab along with two or three items on their wish list for Christmas. What they wish Santa would bring them are not things that could break the bank or drain one’s pocketbook. On the contrary, they can be as simple and basic as a pair of sweat pants, sweat shirt, sugar-free candy, slippers, brush and comb, or soap and shampoo.
There are 150 ornaments — or “bulbs,” as Shelly Kohl, who started the tradition eight years ago, likes to call them — waiting for donors. The number corresponds to the number of Manteca Care and Rehab residents who are the target gift recipients.
Anyone who wants to take part in the gift-giving tradition this year can pick up an ornament from the tree during regular business hours at Precision Auto — from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. They are closed for lunch from noon to 1 p.m.
The Giving Tree has become “kind of a staple every year,” thanks to the many people who contributed to its perennial growth and made it fun since its launch eight years ago, Kohl said.
The community has consistently responded with generosity, “I think, because it helps Manteca Care and Rehab a lot; it helps the patients. They have a big holiday party and Santa’s there. A lot of these clients wouldn’t have one gift if we don’t do this. It really does cheer them up,” especially those who don’t have any family member to visit them,” added Kohl.
“It’s a great way to give,” she said of the Giving Tree project.
“And they (the patients) appreciate it. They really do appreciate it. They have such a good time at the party” when Santa hands out their wrapped presents, Kohl said.
You can pick up a bulb from the Giving Tree until Dec. 22. If donors put the gifts in a Christmas bag and attach the tag or ornament outside the bag, “that’d be great,” Kohl said. Those who don’t have time to shop for the gifts can also give cash donations for that purpose, she added.
Some do “drop cash, so I do the shopping for them. I don’t mind because I like shopping,” said Kohl who has become familiar with some of the residents through the years.
Manteca Care & Rehab activities director Debbie Robles said they will serve cupcakes and punch at the party for their residents and guests. Entertainment will be provided as well by the same community group that has been doing the honors for the last nine years, she said.
Manteca Care and Rehab, located at 410 Eastwood Street off Northgate Drive, will host the Christmas party for its residents and their families on Dec. 24 at 2 p.m.
Precision Auto is located at 475 Moffat Blvd. in Manteca just behind Manteca High.