Operation E.L.F. Has Begun Delivering Magic Once Again
Operation E.L.F. was founded in 2000 and is a 501c3 tax-deductible charity. The elves are already gearing up for this holiday season. In their 21 years of working, the organization has fulfilled over 30,000 holiday wishes for children from Roxbury, Mass. to Brattleboro, Vermont.
Last year during the height of the pandemic, many social services and holiday programs simply shut down, for obvious reasons. However, one anonymous all-volunteer charity found a unique way to create real magic for the children and teens they serve. With a mission to bring a wishes-come-true holiday to children at risk, Operation E.L.F. re-tooled the system they had used for 20+ years. The result was the safe, timely and efficient delivery of holiday wish-list gifts to more than 1,700 kids in New England last December.
In the Past
How did E.L.F. operate in pre-pandemic days? Co-founder Papa Elf sums it up this way: “We normally find sponsors who fulfill the specific wishes of the children. Then the gifts would be brought to one central location where volunteers would sort, check, bag, and load them onto delivery trucks.” The ELF packing day, as it was called, was a big celebration of giving and family. “But with the virus looming,” Papa Elf added, “we couldn’t gather 200 volunteers in one place.”
In Our Continuing Pandemic Times
Starting in early October, the core team of Operation E.L.F., undaunted by fears and confusion around the virus, devised a new approach that worked with small, family units in collection houses where gifts could be shipped or dropped off at a safe distance. Then with the help of “pods” of close friends, each of the 9 collection houses organized a team to prepare the gifts. The E.L.F. Site Team and Transportation Team connected each of the collection houses with the staff at their respective charity/shelter to arrange the date and time for the delivery of the gifts/magic.
How the New Process Begins
“The Operation E.L.F. process begins when we receive the children’s wishes. It’s a monumental task to code each child’s wishes along with the name of the charity where they will receive it. Then we turn our efforts to appealing to friends, family, communities, companies, donors, and sponsors to provide that specific gift,” said Mama Elf, co-founder and one of the lead coordinators of the Wish List team. “We check and double-check each gift against the wish list and the list of kids by charity to ensure that the gift matches the wishes and that no child’s wish is missed.”
Operation E.L.F. - where E.L.F. stands for Everybody Loves Families - operates in a totally anonymous fashion: the children never see the “elves” or sponsors; the elves never see the children. All the recipients ever know is that the “elves” did it. E.L.F. chose the anonymous route back in the beginning when two of their cooperating agencies were running homes for battered women and their children. Knowing that their gifts were even more appreciated by virtue of that respect for anonymity was something that rang true for the Elves and it quickly became the earmark of Operation E.L.F.
Angel Elf has been coordinating the E.L.F. Transportation Team for years. On gift-delivery day last December, she met with a lead manager at Jewish Family Services of Framingham, who expressed his delight by saying, “We are truly grateful that E.L.F. comes through for our children year after year, no matter what! And this year you were the only one able to do that! How do you do it?” Angel Elf just replied, “We deliver the magic!”
Operation E.L.F. was founded in 2000 and is a 501c3 tax-deductible charity. The elves are already gearing up for this holiday season. In their 21 years of working, the organization has fulfilled over 30,000 holiday wishes for children from Roxbury, Mass to Brattleboro, Vermont.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at www.operationelf.org.