SANTA CLAUS, AKA Dave Zuraw, visits with a resident at one of Ripon’s assisted living homes. He visited five such homes Dec. 24 across Ripon to put smiles on residents’ faces. 	   Jill Zuraw photo
SANTA CLAUS, AKA Dave Zuraw, visits with a resident at one of Ripon’s assisted living homes. He visited five such homes Dec. 24 across Ripon to put smiles on residents’ faces. Jill Zuraw photo

     Sometimes, children aren’t the only ones who need the magic of Santa Claus at Christmas.

     And, sometimes, it takes a helping hand from someone in the community to provide that spark.

     Jill Zuraw of Ripon recalls one such moment, when a woman reached out to touch Santa, and her “hands just shook and couldn’t wait to touch him … She just smiled.”

     It’s moments such as those that make worthwhile a special volunteer project taken on by Jill and husband Dave.

     The effort? Visiting the elderly in assisted living homes around the area.

     “You see the recognition in their eyes,” Jill said.“Somebody who has the memories gone, but ... when Santa walks in, you see their eyes light up. Like, ‘I know you!’”

     That’s the magic of Santa.

     It began at the request of Jill.

     “[Dave] obliged me when we started,” she said of having to convince him to play along with her little brainchild. “He was like, ‘You want me to do what?’”

     Playing dress-up in a Santa suit didn’t exactly excite Dave at first, though it’s grown on him since. ...

     To read the entire column, see the Jan. 11, 2018 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.