Share the spirit of giving this Christmas with Little Elves
THE Little Elves Project is "a lovely way of sharing the spirit of giving with your kids and grandkids," and making Christmas special for thousands of less fortunate Queensland children.
That's how "head elf" Kate Armstrong sees the Gold Coast initiative, begun in 2017 after a UNICEF advertisement on TV prompted sons Hayden and Jack, then 5 and 8, to ask Kate if there were kids in Australia who needed help too.
The ensuing conversation resulted in the boys volunteering to give up their own Christmas presents for kids in foster care, before Jack suggested a charity drive (which his mum had been involved in for domestic violence causes in the past) could help even more children.
"We decided to give it a go and we have regular family meetings to discuss what we are doing, but the first year I have to admit I had a mental picture of me and my mum sitting there alone and only handing over about six toys," Kate said.
Instead, the community came together to donate an incredible 2500 gifts, and in 2018 that rose to 6801, with this year's goal 10,000.
"We were just blown away," Kate said.
"My mum is the proudest nana around, and my nan says it's a wonderful thing the boys are doing.
"We're not saving the world or anything, but I'm a single mum and I feel I'm responsible for encouraging the boys to become good, caring adult men."
The Little Elves Project will hold a massive collection day again on Saturday, November 16 from 9am-1pm at The Club at Parkwood Village golf course.
There will be food, fun, entertainment, and activities for the kids including face-painting, card decorating, putt putt, a fire engine, police displays and roving entertainers (last year Spiderman and Cinderella).
"It's such a lovely day, it makes everyone smile," Kate said.
"We had many Seniors attend the big day last year with their grandkids which was so lovely, as well as many who just came along to donate gifts themselves."
Every present - which must be new and unwrapped - is taken to GIVIT, a national not-for-profit "connecting those who have with those who need".
GIVIT sorts and distributes gifts to Child Safety Service Centres around Queensland, who wrap them and given them to children in care.
Kate emphasised that gifts are needed for all ages from 0-17 so, while toys are always welcome, it would be great to also receive gift cards and gifts suitable for teenagers, with a special Santa's letter box on site this year to encourage gift card giving.
Cash donations can also be made to GIVIT, and Village Roadshow has come on board with donation boxes in its theme park stores so visitors can buy a gift to donate to kids in care.
Parklake State School, which the boys attend, also gets behind their efforts with collection days and this year Kate said Biggera Waters and Robina schools and a number of sports club had also expressed an interest.
She suggested that as well as attending the collection day, Seniors and other community clubs and retirement villages could also get involved by arranging their own collections or holding Christmas-themed morning teas with a gold coin donation to GIVIT.
To find out more go to @thelittleelvesproject on Facebook or email Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org.