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Looking for gifts for 160 plus care home residents
Ted Atkins, Shelley and Chris Kohl of Precision Auto, are each shown holding an ornament from the Christmas Giving Tree. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

All Maria wants for Christmas is some sugar-free candy, a bottle of body wash and body spray, a lap blanket and a sweat suit.

Maria is one of the 160 residents at the Manteca Care and Rehabilitation Center on Eastwood Avenue in Manteca. The basic items above are the things that she had listed in a handmade ornament hanging on the Christmas Giving Tree at Precision Auto in Manteca. Each of the ornaments, called “bulbs” by Shelley Kohl, decorating the tree contains the name of a Manteca Care & Rehab resident and what they hope Santa would bring them at Christmas.

The Giving Tree has been such a big hit with residents at the care facility that activities director Kim Harpen wanted to know early on if Precision Auto will have it again this year.

Following the tradition that was started five years ago, the gifts collected through the Giving Tree will be distributed at the annual party hosted by the Manteca Care & Rehab for the residents. This year, the party will be held on Thursday, Dec. 22, at 2 p.m.

Kohl would like to see each resident at the facility receive the gifts on their wish list and is asking the public to support this project. All they have to do is “come in and get a bulb (from the tree) then buy a gift” for that Manteca Care resident, she said.

“Most of the things listed, they can find at the Dollar Store or at CVS (Pharmacy). Most of them are body sprays, lap blankets, sweat suits – that’s a big thing for them,” Kohl said.

She would like the donated gifts to be unwrapped and placed in a Christmas bag with tissue paper for wrapping, if possible, to make it easier for her and the volunteers to prepare the individual gift packages for distribution.

“Anybody and everybody is welcome” to come in to the Precision Auto and pick an ornament from the tree located in the lobby. The auto shop is the building with a red awning located on the corner of Moffat Boulevard and Garfield Street.

“We need the gifts no later than Monday, the 19th. We have to wrap them and make sure they get evenly distributed” among the residents, so no one is left without a gift, Kohl explained.

There are still plenty of ornaments left on the tree waiting for generous individuals to “adopt.” Just stop by the auto shop during their regular business hours Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The office is closed for lunch from 12 to 1 p.m.

The Christmas ornaments this year are made of soft foam in the shape of a Christmas tree, a gingerbread cookie, Frosty the Snowman, and large bulbs. Each one has been lovingly decorated by Kohl and by her sister-in-law, Susie Bonilla.

In fact, “she did more than I did,” said Kohl. They finished all 160 bulbs just two weeks ago.