Fox Valley Woman Plays Santa to Those Her Non-Profit Serves

By Stacy Engebretson.

Appleton, WI — A Fox Valley woman is on a mission this holiday season to bring smiles to those who struggle everyday. Dawn Ristow is the President and CEO of Compassionate Home Health Care. It’s an Appleton based non-profit that provides personal care services for the elderly and those with mental and physical disabilities. She knows that life for her clients can be tough so, once again this year, she’s playing Santa to spread some Christmas cheer.

A surprise visit from Dawn Ristow will brighten anyone’s day with her infectious energy, but a recent stop at Kinsley Tarr’s” house was extra special.

Dawn says to Kinsley, “We have a nice little scarf for you. We have a little brownie mix.”

Kinsley, who has cerebral palsy, is receiving two bags of donated goodies.  They’re a Christmas gift from the agency that helps the 35-year-old everyday with things like showering, medications and light housekeeping.

“They’re just wonderful people,” said Kinsley.

The staff also provides respite for parents.

“So that they can take a break. So they can go on date, go shopping together,” explained Dawn.

It’s clients like this that compel Dawn year after year to solicit the community for donations of personal hygiene items and cleaning supplies to give to the low income families they serve.

“Sometimes people don’t have money for dish soap, toilet paper, toothpaste. Something that simple is going to make their day.”

There’s also donated books and Shopko came through with a $500 check.

“It makes me feel good that the community can wrap their arms around our clients and give them a little holiday joy.”

It makes life easier for Kinsley.

“I don’t have to go shopping. That’s one thing,” she said with a chuckle.

It gives Dawn great joy to help her clients not only at Christmas time but all year long.

She says, “I love my job. I love that we can help people in the community, and it makes them feel good that somebody remembered them.”

Kinsley is able to work three jobs thanks to the care she receives and with the Christmas gift bags valued at about $150, she’s able to keep more of her hard earned money in her wallet.

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