How the Elves got Started…

Operation Phoenixville Elves started in 2014 with a single phone call.  I received a call from a dear friend, Rosa Davila, asking me if I knew any way to help a family that didn’t have enough money to provide their children with gifts for Christmas.  I knew my friends and colleagues would want to help.  A few calls, a post on Facebook, some emails to my network and we were on our way.  It was fun and unlike anything we had done before.  I asked the mom of these children for letters to Santa.  We talked about what they liked to do, their favorite colors, and hobbies.  We also talked about what they needed, not just what they wanted.

Word of our endeavors spread and that first year we helped 6 or 7 families and provided gifts for 12 children.  We were also fortunate to have Christmas hams and turkeys donated by Uncle B’s BBQ Shack for 3 of our families.

In 2015, the expansion was tremendous.We provided toys, games, art supplies, books, science kits, food, diapers, clothing, and yes, elf magic.  Every family submits a wish list.  The list may be for basic necessities.  The parents might say “We need shoes, socks, clothes, diapers, food.  We don’t need toys.”  And every time I would tell them that we are going to help you with what you need, but we are also going to get you some elf magic.

The elves also grew from the two women Santa’s Workshop in my living room to a community of volunteers and support.  Stable 12 Brewery provided storage space, a drop off location, and a place to host our Community Wrap Parties.  The Head Elves came into existence to keep things organized, and they are a force to be reckoned with. Their organizational skills made our enormous growth possible.

The elves continue to evolve.  This year we have registered with the state as a non-profit association, opened a bank account, and are putting more structure in place behind the scenes to be able to spread more Christmas cheer and magic by matching needs with those who can and want to fulfill those needs.   Each family then submits their letter(s) to Santa.  We ask them specifically about their wants and needs.  And we put together a list for Santa, and her elves to get to work.

Thank you all for your support and Merry Christmas!

Lisa Longo