You may think the Coast’s elves are laying low in these warmer months, but they’re out and about and actively seeking new volunteers to help make sure no one in need goes without this Christmas.
“We’re just trying to get more involvement everywhere and to let people know that we do this more than just two months before Christmas,” Elves Club president Lynn Nestman said. “We’ve had wonderful volunteers for many years and they’re just getting older. They want to step down and I really need some young people to step up.”
The Sunshine Coast Elves Club fundraises year round to bring in the approximately $80,000 it costs to create Christmas hampers for the Coast’s needy. The hampers hold enough food for Christmas dinner and a few days afterwards plus some gifts for children.
Last year there were 636 hampers given out, and the food alone cost the Elves Club around $60,000, Nestman said.
Much of the club’s funding comes from the annual Elves Club Telethon held in early December, but things like meat draws at the Lighthouse Pub and the occasional fundraising event help add to the total.
“We want to up the nutritional value of the hampers this year, so I’m hoping if I can make at least $3,000 at the meat draws, I can make sure there’s eggs and cheese in those hampers, which I think at Christmas time would go far,” Nestman said.
Nestman, who’s been at her post for a little over a year now, said she learned a lot when she took over the reins last year, and this Christmas she’s looking to make a few changes.
One change she hopes to implement is a drop-off location in Sechelt. Currently all the drop-off and sorting is done in Gibsons.
Another planned change is the date applications for hampers must be turned in.
“Applications will come out in September and they all have to be in by October. The reason for this is we need to have numbers before we order the food,” Nestman said. “In the past what they would do is take a guesstimate from the last year and order it before the numbers were in. Now with the large amount of hampers we do and the area we cover and the extremely high cost of food, we have to be exact. Plus it’s very hard on the people organizing delivery to get applications 10 days before the drop off.”
She said there will be a number of “compassionate care” hampers for people who, due to an emergency, are in need after the cut off date. Those hampers will be given out based on the recommendations of a committee.
In preparation for the Christmas season Nestman is asking for volunteers to step forward now in order to fill out the club’s dwindling ranks and help put on some summer fundraisers.
Nestman would like help specifically to put on a chili cook-off event next month. She also has plans for a parade this fall.
If you would like to get involved with the local Elves Club, contact Nestman at 604-886-3966 or connect with the group on Facebook.