The presents will be plentiful and the food hampers will be heavier thanks to caring Coasters who came to the aid of the Elves Club this week.
“The Saturday after your article came out, the citizens in this community gave us over $12,000 that day,” said Sunshine Coast Elves Club president Lynn Nestman, holding back tears. “It was unbelievable how people just poured through the door. Bags and bags of gifts for the four to six to year olds, who by the way are going to make out like bandits now. Baby stuff, tons of food — it’s humbling.”
Coast Reporter wrote a story last week highlighting the shortage in funding the Elves Club was experiencing this year.
Having raised just $25,000 of a $50,000 budget, the Elves Club was planning to pack smaller food hampers and forego extras like candy for the kids.
Nestman said Coasters “answered the candy call” by donating dozens of bags of sweets.
“The candy call was well received. Let’s just say some parents are going to hate us,” Nestman joked.
The extra donations of groceries and cash will enable the Elves Club to give enough food to last a few days. Originally they planned to pack only enough food for Christmas dinner and breakfast in the hampers.
“Because of the generosity of this community I think they will find three to four days worth of food in the hampers, and really nice food,” Nestman said.
In addition to Saturday’s showing of support, more donations have been coming in throughout the week, Nestman said, with the Gibsons Medical Clinic bringing in more than $2,000 when Coast Reporter was at the depot on Dec. 17.
The money came from patient donations and a $1,000 matching gift from the medical clinic.
“People are still coming in donating, and we have yet to get our food from the schools that have done food drives for us, and South Coast Ford is still bringing a truckload of food down,” Nestman said, noting everyone seems to be getting involved. “I’ve picked up 25 boxes of food from the paramedics up Pender Harbour way, so it’s great, it’s been really great.”
She expects the Elves Club to raise about $40,000 by the time all the donations are counted. Some of that money, she said, will be saved to ensure a solid start for next year’s hampers.
The Elves Club also plans to run fundraising events throughout 2014 and they are looking for more volunteers to join the club.
“We are screaming for members to come and join who will come and work with us all year. Membership is $3.65 and 12 cans of food,” Nestman said.
“And we’re going to have a lot of fun. Next year we’re going to have a Christmas light parade to kick off our telethon and our shopping season, so we have big plans, we just need the people.”
If you want to get involved, phone Nestman at 604-886-3966.