Chamber Names New Executive Director

Story and photos by Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-12-01

Cendrinne DeMattei, Executive Director, Citrus Heights Chamber of Commerce

Citrus Heights, CA (MPG) - Cendrinne DeMattei officially assumed her role as Executive Director of the Citrus Heights Chamber of Commerce in November, however, she’s served in the positon since spring following her predecessor’s abrupt departure.  As the Chamber prepares to turn 60 and inaugurate a new president in January, membership is up from 260 in March to 285.  Changes are already in place with respect to communication and there are plans for adding a signature event and Chamber festival.   DeMattei recently shared with reporter Jacqueline Fox her plans for keeping momentum going and taking the chamber forward.

Q: Why did you want this position?
A: Two reasons. I felt that it would allow me to utilize all the skills and experience I have, and I love to be an agent of change and possibilitiesAlso, I’d already been a member and served on its education committee for three years, so I know it has value and purpose.

Q: With the Internet and social media so prevalent, is the chamber still relevant?
A: Yes, more than ever. Networking is a huge part of membership and business growth depends on it.  In particular, with so many home-based businesses out there the need for accountability and social interaction and platform for promoting their businesses is greater than ever.

Q: What is the Chamber’s current membership and what’s been done to increase it?
A: We’ve been successful in boosting our membership from 260 to 285 in the last year.  We put in a concentrated effort to enhance the communication to business owners in the city about the benefits of being a member and showing its value.  We also put a lot of energy into reaching out to entrepreneurs who need a chamber more than anything because many are one-man or one-woman teams who can benefit from a network.”

Q: What is the composition of the Chamber’s membership?
A: Roughly 65 percent of our members are small business owners with fewer than 10 employees.  We are seeing a continuation of that trend, but also a growth in the number of women-owned small businesses.

Q: What does your job entail?
A: My job is to implement what the board wants.  I was brought on to provide continuity and consistency for the remainder of 2018 and, as the board meets to define and design goals for three to five years out, I will be tasked with implementing programs and projects to support them.

Q: What changes have you implemented since spring?
A: We have revived the printed membership directory for one thing, which is something that a lot of our members said they wanted.  I’m also putting the finishing touches on a new, bi-monthly e-newsletter that will feature photos from events, information about upcoming monthly meetings and spotlights on chamber members.  Also, we revived the new member orientations to engage and retain members.  We use the platform for the orientations to both leverage our connections within the city and the business community, and second, we offer new members an opportunity to ask us questions and tell us what it is we can do for them.  We will hold one in March and a second one each fall.

Q: What are your own plans for expanding and retaining membership?
A: I’d like to keep the momentum going with our partnership with the city to train future entrepreneurs through our leadership program and bring them is as new members.  We also have goals to increase attendance at our own events by making sure the subject matter pertains to members’ needs.  We want our events to showcase their businesses and give them tools they need.  We also are increasing our use of social media to highlight our activities and use it as a promotional tool for our members.  So our hope is that our members will share their positive experiences and pass those experiences on to their own contacts and associates. Also, we are looking at adding a signature event in the fall that reflects the culture and profile make up of our membership and aligns with the city’s new branding to convey Citrus Heights as a business friendly destination city where it is as much fun to work as it is to live and play.

Q: Your Chamber is preparing to install new leadership.  What will that look like?
A: We have Amanda Blackwood from Stones Gambling Hall coming in January to take over as the new board president.  Right now the board is very focused on bringing in diversity in terms of occupation, business size and experience and industries to create a culture whereby new ideas and new ways of doing things are embraced.  We are in a period of change. The chamber is looking at its 60th year in January, so we see the year ahead as a fresh new beginning, with a new president, new board members and tasking ourselves with bigger and better events.

Q: What makes Citrus Heights a great place to do business?

A: I’m invested in this community and have been for years.  I remember when they built Sunrise Mall and I’ve watched the economic growth and seen the city evolve into a solid, mature and appealing community. So I’m excited to see more new events and a more engaged membership base that will attract other businesses to the area. 

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Music is Universal and So is Learning

Story by Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-12-01

For more information about upcoming concerts, to donate used guitars or 
details on workshops: Photo by Sacramento Preparatory Musical Academy

Sacramento County, CA (MPG) - Can teaching someone how to play the guitar deliver on the promise of overcoming socio-economic challenges?

Absolutely, says Lili Williams, president of Sacramento Guitar Society (SGS), which has, somewhat under the radar, been promoting and celebrating the art of the guitar for decades through its community classes, workshops, youth scholarships, public performances, and even onsite classes for prison inmates.

Originally founded in 1961 as a small group for guitar enthusiasts in the Bay Area, SGS has evolved into a full-fledged nonprofit dedicated to providing free and low-cost classical guitar workshops and performance opportunities to youth and adults from across a broad spectrum of cultural and economic backgrounds.

Guitar classes and performance opportunities are available to players of varying ages, abilities and backgrounds, Williams said, however, the focus of SGS’ community classes is moving more exclusively in the direction helping underserved youth and students in schools where funding for the arts is lacking.

“A lot of kids in the community have never been exposed to the art of classical guitar, or say a flamenco guitar performance,” said Williams, a former Intel engineer who came out of retirement to raise funds for SGS before becoming its president.  “Our purpose is to give youth of all abilities an outlet through classes and performance opportunities on the guitar, and we are deeply focused today on at risk and disadvantaged kids.”

Through its educational outreach programs in schools, community spaces and, most recently, two newly secured partnerships with the Carmichael and Rancho Cordova parks and recreation programs, SGS is working to expand its reach deep into the communities where access to musical education and instruction are needed most. 

Previously, SGS raised funds for outside organizations with similar missions, primarily the Sacramento Preparatory Musical Academy, which served to extend the SGS mission through its own workshops and performances.  Now, SGS, which currently runs on a $48,000 operating budget, is shifting its funding toward its own programs, primarily the new parks and recreation partnerships, as well as plans for extending services to targeted youth living in foster homes across Sacramento County.

“For the last few years we’ve been raising funds through grants for the Sacramento Preparatory Academy’s efforts,” Williams said.  “Now our focus will be on redirecting funds from our grantors and supporters back to our own agency in order to expand our own programs,” Williams said.

SGS students do not need to have any guitar skills.  They are given a safe, professional space in which to learn to play the guitar.  They learn to read chords and notes, finger pick and strum, and how to properly position the guitar in classical styles.

“Music is universal and so is learning,” said Williams.  “But not every kid out there has access to both of those things.  For many disadvantage youth, exposure to something like the history of classical guitar and how to play an instrument seems way out of reach.  So we are here to help change that.”

In addition to classes for youth, the SGS Community Orchestra, comprised of members of all ages, offers community concerts throughout the year, including its upcoming Winter Concert, slated for December 17 at The CLARA (E. Clare Raley Studios for the Performing Arts) in midtown.  Monthly rehearsals for the orchestra are also held at The CLARA and invitations to join are open to players ranging 10 and up, Williams said.

The “The SGS community orchestra is an amazing part of our agency,” said Williams.  “You’ll not only be treated to a concert of ensemble players if you come to one of its performances, you’ll see players from middle school on stage playing side-by-side with adults.  It’s truly a wonderful event and experience.”

SGS also supports music programs in the San Juan Unified School District by holding in-class performances by featured artists, including SGS teachers.  Also, SGS accepts donations of used acoustic guitars, which are restored, tuned-up and given to schools and music academies in need.

“A big part of our program is making sure that music programs in the schools across the districts that do not have the funds to purchase new guitars for their students get guitars,” Williams said.

Other community performances help support SGS programming.  In February, SGS will hold its annual Young Artists Showcase Concert featuring talented young artists from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Preparatory Division and Yuri Liberzon’s Los Altos Studio.  The 2018 spring concert lineup includes An Evening with Alex De Grassi & Andrew York at the Harris Center in March, and Eleftheria Kotzia from Greece at The Sophia Tsakopoulos Center for the Arts in April.

As a nonprofit, SGS relies on membership fees, concert ticket sales and the generosity of its corporate and individual donors.  Over the next decade, Williams said, SGS will be pushing to expand its operating budget to $1 million—a tall order, perhaps, but, says Williams, when you are driven by passion, everything is possible.

“It’s because of my passion for kids who are low-income or struggling in some way that I want to grow this program into one that brings our underserved youth more opportunities to gain exposure to music and learn to play the guitar,” she said.  “We want to reach the ones out there in our communities that don’t have those opportunities and see to it that they get there.”

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When Every Meal Matters

By Margaret Snider  |  2017-12-01

Volunteers are ready to prepare and serve at Holy Family Catholic Church Food Service for the Needy, hot dinner and food distribution held every Wednesday. Photo by Gary McFadyen

Church Program Blesses Both Guests and Volunteers

Citrus Heights, CA (MPG) - On nearly every Wednesday of the year, Holy Family Catholic Church hosts dinner for from 50 to 80 homeless or in-need guests.  The program brings those who can provide a good meal together with those who really need one.

Nora Martinez started the Holy Family Wednesdays in 1991, but had her first exposure to feeding the needy in the 1980s. Coming home from church she said to her husband, “We go to church, we go to prayer meeting, but we’re really not doing the Lord’s work.  We’re really not visiting the sick, or feeding them.”  The following week, her prayer group forwarded her a letter saying that a soup kitchen was opening up downtown. Martinez’s group was invited to the meeting and was the first to serve when that kitchen, Loaves & Fishes, opened.  She helped there for five years.

After another five year stint in North Highlands, where she started another kitchen, Martinez began the program at Holy Family Catholic Church.  That was nearly 27 years ago. Martinez, 84, and the program are still going strong.

Stories abound of things that have happened on their Wednesdays. Martinez tells of a huge bowl of salad – it had everything but bananas.  A couple of volunteers were driving to the church that day when a box fell off a truck in front of them.  They stopped to get it out of the road, and threw it in the back of the car, unable to catch the truck.  When they opened it up at the church, it was full of bananas.

Cook Grace Ngatia said a man who came seemed ashamed to take the free meal, in spite of volunteers’ efforts to reassure them.  After a couple of months the family stopped coming, but three months later the man came back.  “Remember me? You used to feed me here,” the man said.  “At that time I had just lost my job.”  The man pulled out some money and said, “I can help with the next meals, can you use $70?  You helped me through when I was having a hard time.” 

One of the regular guests is Thomas Cooper, who has been homeless for 45 years.  “This program is good,” Cooper said. “I’ve been going here for over 25 years.  It’s a long time.”  This is the only place locally he knows he can get a hot dinner each week. 

All those in need are welcomed at Holy Family Catholic Church, no questions asked, no one turned away. Besides the hot meal, volunteer Ron Schaefer picks up donations each week of produce, canned goods, and baked goods donated by stores and restaurants in Citrus Heights and surrounding areas. The program gives these to guests attending the dinners.

Volunteers from many different churches or no church at all help with the program.  Martinez still cooks for the program, and her “sidekick,” as she calls Ngatia, helps her.  “She’s wonderful,” Martinez said.  “She loves to cook, so when she came to help it was a blessing.”  On a recent Wednesday, 85 homeless or needy men, women, and children received dinner and additional food. Around 16 volunteers helping that day found the project on and joined the 15 volunteers who serve there regularly, such as Martinez, Ngatia, and Schaefer.

You can sign up to volunteer for the Holy Family Catholic Church Food Service to the Needy project by going to the JustServe website at  Or go to and enter your town or zip code to find a variety of projects and ways to serve in your community.

Holy Family Catholic Church is located at 7817 Old Auburn Rd., Citrus Heights. The program is closed only on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Wednesday between Christmas and New Year.

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Chris Boyd Honored for Twenty Years of Service

By Elise Spleiss  |  2017-12-01

After receiving the recognition award (from left to right); Mark Pickens, Art Van Loon, Kermit Schayltz, Christopher Boyd, Marci Boyd. Photo courtesy City of Citrus Heights

Citrus Heights, CA (MPG – “All my favorite people (here) in the room at one time!” Those were the words of Citrus Height’s City Manager Chris Boyd following his being presented with Stones Gambling Hall’s second annual ‘21’ Award on November 16.

Stones ‘21’ Award is given to a member of the community who has made an outstanding long-term contribution to the City of Citrus Heights.  Then Citrus Heights city councilmember and former mayor Mel Turner was honored with the first ‘21’ award in 2016. Turner died while still in office in April of 2017. 

Before a room full of family, City employees. and members of the community, Boyd was presented with a resolution read by Kermit Schayltz, listing in detail his myriad of accomplishments throughout his career in Citrus Heights during the last 20 years.It closed with his receiving the award “as he has demonstrated exemplary commitment and dedication to the advancement of the City of Citrus Heights, a history of strong, effective leadership, and a passion for making a difference.”

Boyd responded saying he is “thrilled to a part of this community”, a “dream come true” for him. Tearing up for a moment, he spoke of his family who had always supported him, and his team at the City who makes what he does possible. He added that it is the vision of the city council and its work towards excellence that drives him.

Boyd (50) hit the ground running as he began his job as city manager last year, after serving as Citrus Height’s first police chief for 10 years. He was appointed police chief in 2006 by then city manager Henry Tingle. Tingle retired after 17 years in 2016.  City council unanimously appointed Boyd as city manager on July 14, 2016.  Those 10 years as police chief gave Boyd invaluable knowledge and experience in all areas of the city to assist him in his new job.  Rocklin Police Chief Ron Lawrence followed as the city’s new police chief on October 31, 2016.

In a news release at the time of his appointment to city manager in 2016, then mayor, Jeannie Bruins commented that Citrus Heights “really couldn’t ask for a more ideal candidate”, he is “well versed on issues facing the city” and understands the community and local challenges”.  Boyd holds a degree in Master of Public Administration from the College of Notre Dame.

In his talk, Boyd commented, “We knew we had a winner here from the beginning”, referring to the ongoing partnership between Stones and the City since Stones opening in 2014.  Helping make Citrus Heights a better place to live, their sponsorships include the CH Police Heights Police Activities League (PAL) which works with youth, and the CH Chamber Leadership Academy. They also hold an annual ‘Chip in For Charities’ poker tournament to raise funds for Lilliput Families, a private adoption agency in citrus Heights.

In an email, Boyd said of the award, “I’m honored to receive this award. This is especially meaningful to me as Councilmember Mel Turner was the first recipient. He was a great Councilmember and friend, and I hope to carry on his legacy. While I’m proud of what I’ve been able to do in this city, I didn’t do it alone. Anything I’ve accomplished is because of the hard work and dedication of city and police department employees. We have a great team here and we work hard for residents every day. My team and I also appreciate we work in such a supportive and collaborative community, and we don’t take this for granted. It’s because of strong partnerships we are able to build successful programs and services.”

Boyd’s executive assistant Melanie Randel said of her boss, who she also served under in the same capacity at the police department, “It has been an honor working alongside Chris these last nine years. He is a gifted mentor and truly cares about the people he serves. His leadership style inspires, encourages, and emboldens; his commitment to excellence contagious. I am incredibly grateful for the many opportunities our partnership has afforded me. 

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Come Enjoy These Magical Christmas Events

Story by Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-12-01

Each night “Magical Moments” will deliver a unique, fun-filled holiday event.

Sunrise MarketPlace Holiday Events Kick off Across the District

Citrus Heights, CA (MPG) - The season to give thanks may have ended with Black Friday sales and mall-parking madness.  But the season of love and joy is in full swing, and with the variety of holiday events planned across the Sunrise MarketPlace District, the city has you and yours covered.

“Each year we try to make this hectic shopping season a bit more fun and enjoyable, create memorable experiences for our shoppers and drive traffic and create awareness for our businesses,” said Kathilynn Carpenter, executive director of the Sunrise MarketPlace District. 

Sunrise MarketPlace and Entercom Communications are joining forces to offer residents, their family members and visitors to Citrus Heights “Magical Moments at Sunrise MarketPlace,” featuring interactive, family-friendly, pop-up experiences every Tuesday and Thursday evenings through December 21, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

While the festivities officially kicked off November 28, there’s plenty left on the calendar to enjoy.  Each night “Magical Moments” will deliver a unique, fun-filled holiday event that also includes plenty of giveaways, including a chance to win Two-night, two-day Park Hopper Passes and two parking vouchers at the Magic Kingdom theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida just outside Orlando.  You have to show up to each event to enter this give-away, but that gives you several chances to enter and win.

On Tuesday, Dec. 5 Magical Moments Experiences offers a Toys R Us: Journey to Toyland photo opportunity and interactive meet and greet with Elf on the Shelf characters, gingerbread house making activities, a chance to win Toys R Us gift cards, a toy drive for Sayonara Center and more.

On Thursday, Dec. 7 Sunrise Mall will feature the Nutcracker Interlude, featuring characters from the ballet, Nutcracker story time, roasted chestnuts and books for the first 50 kids

You won’t want to miss the Intergalactic Holiday at Sunrise Village on Tuesday, Dec. 12 next to JoAnn Fabrics, where you can train to be a Jedi knight, polish up your lightsaber skills, watch battle recreations, enjoy a live appearance from 98 Rock and enter to win tickets to the latest Star Wars film “The Last Jedi.”

Fiesta de Navidad celebrates the Christmas traditions and pageantry of Mexico on Thursday, Dec. 14 at El Tapatio, including live mariachi music, festive piñatas, traditional foods, and more.

On Tuesday, Dec. 19, the Marketplace at Birdcage features Christmas in Polynesia where you can celebrate the season island style with Moana and Maui and take part in Kakmora Coconut Warriors craft activities for all.

Don’t worry.  Furry friends get in on the fun, too.  PetSmart will host a Fur Baby Christmas on Thursday, Dec. 21 to benefit shelter animals.  Pet costume contests, a puppy lounge and photos with Santa are on the menu, as well as a chance to win PetSMart gift cards and Front Street Shelter adoption certificates.

Finally, Sunrise Mall once again will present sensory-friendly photo experiences with Santa exclusively for families of children with special needs on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.  Kids of all ages and abilities are welcome to enjoy this compassionate event, allowing families to enjoy an experience inside the mall before regular store hours in the JC Penny Court.

Sensory-Friendly Santa is held in partnership with Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization dedicated to funding research into the cause, prevention, treatment and cure for autism.  Visits with Santa are free, but space is limited and families are encouraged to reserve a time online at  Keepsake photo packages will be available for purchase during the event. Guests will enjoy complimentary refreshments, a coloring activity and takeaways.

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Home for the Holidays Celebrates the Season

Special SCSO Release  |  2017-12-01

The SCSO is once again proud to partner with Wells Fargo to help Sacramento area families celebrate the season in a meaningful way. Photo courtesy SCSO.

Grinch, Children, Puppets, Headliner, Orchestra and Chorus Star in SCSO’s December Celebration at Memorial Auditorium

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - SCSO Conductor Donald Kendrick and the Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra are once again setting a joyful scene for their magical Wells Fargo Home for the Holidays celebration in downtown Sacramento. This premier Christmas celebration has become a standing-room only area tradition when families converge in Sacramento’s venerable landmark Memorial Auditorium (15th & J Street) to salute the season in fine style.

You Spoke – The SCSO Listened
“Last year’s inaugural matinée concert played to a full house so we are definitely running a 2 PM matinée performance again this year on Saturday, December 9,” says SCSO Marketing Director Jeannie Brown. “That will be followed by a 7:30 PM evening performance to accommodate our loyal patrons.”

SCSO attendees also requested that the Grinch and the life-size Puppets return to regale children young and old at this year’s events. Christopher Cooke and the Green Valley Theater Company will once again create the puppet magic and baritone Matt Hanscom will once again make Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Who Stole Christmas jump off the page and into the hearts of the audience. (As an aside, it’s hard to believe that The Grinch is celebrating its 60th birthday this year.)

The SCSO is once again proud to partner with Wells Fargo to help Sacramento area families celebrate the season in a meaningful way. “It is our pleasure to collaborate with Wells Fargo to offer such an exciting choral orchestral program to so many people,” says Board President James McCormick. Wells Fargo and the SCSO are partnering to offer tickets for the underprivileged and for Veterans. “Sacramento’s venerable Memorial Auditorium was built in 1927 and it is celebrating it’s 90th birthday this year. The performance venue was dedicated to Veterans back in 1927, so our Veterans and their Families feel a special kinship for this Sacramento landmark” says SCSO Board Member Amanda Johnson.

The SCSO is enjoying a strong collaboration with KVIE for their December 9th performances and their PBS documentary is gaining lots of airtime leading up to the concerts. “We also have a close partnership with Make-A-Wish this year,” says Board Member Jeannie Brown. “We hope to grant not one but three wishes for our young stars at this year’s performances.

SCSO Artistic Director Donald Kendrick has added some extra special magic for children young and old at their December 9th performances. Says Kendrick, “People love to hear stories at Christmas and we intend to share a stunning arrangement of American composer Randol Alan Bass’ The Night Before Christmas featuring the orchestra and narrator Matt Hanscom.

“The warm atmosphere created by Memorial Auditorium’s u-shaped seating plan fosters a very strong sense of community at the concert itself. For most people attending, witnessing the power of such a large chorus and orchestra, and even singing along with the orchestra on the second half of the program leaves an indelible impression, one sparkling with hope and joy,” says SCSO Board Member Derek LaCrone.

SCSO Conductor Donald Kendrick has once again drawn together another refreshing and sparkling program designed to capture the magic and spirit of the season, providing seasonal surprises and merriment for the whole family. “We are working hard to provide a festive and celebratory mood for our Wells Fargo Home for the Holidays concert as we plan to welcome families who come together to celebrate this joyful season,” says SCSO Conductor Donald Kendrick. “It is a time to experience a wonderful sense of old-fashioned community and camaraderie brought about by the thrilling music of the season.”

Music, Mystery, Children, Guest Artist and Narrator, Audience Singalong

The concert’s special guests will once again be the Sacramento Children’s Chorus under their new director Alexander Grambow. The program begins with a sense of mystery in darkness with the entire large 180-voice combined SCSO/SCC Choruses surrounding the audience with candles in the first balcony, singing a cappella from memory. This sound around effect is stunning and moving for both the performers and audience members alike,” says SCSO patron Lynn Estabrook. “The candlelit procession to the stage during Leroy Anderson’s Christmas Festival will make for a magical opening to our performance.” Following the intermission, the large audience will rise to its feet and fill Sacramento’s Memorial Auditorium with a joyful noise when they join Kendrick and the large SCSO Chorus and orchestra in an exciting audience singalong.  “The sound of such a large chorus and the looks of inspiration and joy on people’s faces during the sing along really add to the sense of community that great music brings to us all’, says SCSO Bass Zane Brown.

Kendrick has once again chosen a mixture of outstanding choral orchestral works celebrating the true meaning of Christmas, a mixture of traditional carols that people have come to love tinged with new arrangements by such well respected composers as British composer John Rutter and young American composer Barlow Bradford along with a stunning arrangement of Robert Wendel’s Holiday Greetings. Baritone Matt Hanscom will serve as the SCSO’s headliner, rounding out the evening with solos in arrangements by Randol Alan Bass, Matthew Naughtin and Robert Wendel.

Christmas CDs Available at the December 9th Performance

The SCSO’s December 9th performances will offer patrons an opportunity take the SCSO’s Christmas CDs  - great stocking stuffers - home with them. “Nothing compares to the joy that live music brings, especially at Christmas,” says SCSO Alto Tonia Hagaman. “Our large orchestra excels in these sparkling arrangements that Don serves up and the energy on stage is definitely contagious.

Come celebrate the true spirit of the Christmas season at the SCSO’s 2017 Wells Fargo Home for the Holidays performances at the Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento. We guarantee merriment.

Wells Fargo Home for the Holidays 2017 At a Glance
Event:  Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra’s Wells Fargo Home for the Holidays at             

Memorial Auditorium, Donald Kendrick Conductor
Guests: The Sacramento Children’s Chorus, Alexander Grambow, Director
             Matt Hanscom, Guest Artist and Narrator
             Puppets by Green Valley Theater Company – Christopher Cook, Designer
             Lobby Entertainment – Vibrance Barbershop Quartet
Date/Times:  Saturday, December 9  - 2 PM matinee – 7:30 PM evening concert
Location:  Memorial Auditorium – 1515 J Street, Sacramento
Tickets:     $35 - $40 - $50  – Students with ID: 50% discount
                  Sacramento Community Center Box Office: 916-808-5181
Information: SCSO: (916) 536-9065 or

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Program Provides Comfort, Companionship and Cheer to Sacramento Area Seniors

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - While many seniors enjoy being able to live independently, the holidays can be a difficult time for those who are unable to spend them with friends or loved ones. In fact, isolated seniors are at greater risk for loneliness, anxiety and depression.

This is why the local Home Instead Senior Care® offices serving Sacramento and surrounding counties are inviting the community to come together to bring some comfort and holiday cheer to area seniors through their Be a Santa to a Senior® program.

“Research suggests that feelings of loneliness can have a real effect on both mental and physical health. The holidays are a prime time for many people to feel lonely, and that may be especially true for seniors who cannot travel from their homes or have lost their support network,” said Buck Shaw of Home instead Senior Care in Sacramento. “With Be a Santa to a Senior, we are able to bring them some comfort through a thoughtful gift that they might not otherwise receive, but, more importantly, by delivering them with a warm friendly face and kind words reminding them that their community cares about them.”

Providing gifts and companionship at a time when seniors may need it most, the program is made possible through the generous support of Sacramento area businesses, nonprofit organizations, retailers, numerous volunteers and members of the community. The local Home Instead Senior Care offices are partnering with Meals on Wheels to help with gift collection and distribution.

Holiday shoppers are invited to support Be a Santa to a Senior by visiting a participating location where Be a Santa to a Senior trees will be on display from Nov. 16 to Dec. 15. Those trees will be decorated with paper ornaments featuring seniors’ first names and their desired gifts. Holiday shoppers can choose an ornament, buy the requested gift and return it to the store with the ornament attached. There’s no need to worry about wrapping — community volunteers and program partners will wrap and deliver the gifts to local seniors in time for the holidays.

“We’re excited to get started and see the tree ornaments turn into meaningful gifts and interactions that can make a real impact on seniors’ quality of life this holiday season,” said Shaw. “We know there are a variety of gift initiatives out there, and are so grateful to have our partners and community come together to support this important cause that will bring some much-needed holiday spirit to many of our senior neighbors.”

More than 50 Be a Santa to a Senior trees can be found this year, including the following locations, or by entering a zip code at Eskaton Lodge Gold River, 11390 Coloma Rd., Gold River; Meals on Wheels, 7375 Park City Dr., Sacramento; Sagebrook at Carmichael, 7125 Fair Oaks Blvd., Carmichael;  Summerset Senior Living, 2341 Vehicle Dr., Rancho Cordova

For more information about the program, visit or call (916) 920-2273 or (530) 885-3904.

Founded in 1994 in Omaha, Nebraska, by Lori and Paul Hogan, the Home Instead Senior Care® network provides personalized care, support and education to help enhance the lives of aging adults and their families. Today, this network is the world's leading provider of in-home care services for seniors, with more than 1,000 independently owned and operated franchises.


Source: Home Instead Senior Care 

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