2012 Christmas Season update…
From the sleigh phone, we scheduled more than 800 appointments with local families, shopping complimentery for over 2500 children at one of three elf stores, located in Bend, Redmond and Salem, Oregon. We distributed nearly 20,000 gift items! Gathering toys, over 120 Elf Boxes were placed throughout the communities at supporting businesses, schools, fire stations and social events. 30 Christmas dinners delivered. Operation Elf Box hosted two “celebrate” events for women affected by domestic violence. A near 70 sELFless volunteers made it all happen! I am grateful for community. My elf hat is off to all of you! Currently planning 2013. It’s all about the “elf magic”! ~ Josh Hart, Founder
A few years have passed since my idea of having a Christmas party began shaping “Operation Elf Box”. Asking each guest to bring a toy, the mission was simple, a brighter Christmas for children less fortunate.
A singer songwriter, I began using the stage to get the word out and the promise of toys became significant. Sharing my vision with a friend he offered me a vacant downtown Bend Oregon commercial location, (free of charge) a place he said I could “store toys”. It didn’t take long to establish, “Elf Store”, a few dozen “Elf Boxes” making their way into local businesses collecting new unwrapped toys. Those toys make their way back to “Elf Store”, stocking the shELVES.
Partnering with area nonprofits, schools and Churches, 153 families were referred that first December, meeting with each one mysELF. The second year, 405 families shop Elf Store, 1045 children receive gifts, the community coming together supplying nearly 6000 toys, stockings and stuffers. We serve our neighboring cities and counties with nearly 100 volunteers helping out.
“Good Faith” is our policy. Writing with color crayons, we record the first name and age of a child. No applications, we visit with each family by appointment only. Choices empower those who have few to make at the time; stockings, stuffers, gifts, wrapping paper, bows and gift labels in their own handwriting. Dignifying, uplifting and lots of FUN, that’s Operation Elf Box!
Operation Elf Box is a grassroots effort, making Christmas brighter for those children disadvantaged in our community. We exist by the kindness of individuals like yoursELF contributing children’s gifts and supplies. Thanks for keeping the party going.
~ Josh Hart, Founder