Operation Elf Box toy drop box.
With the Christmas season comes the renewal of volunteer efforts to benefit those in need, and this year any who who’s anyone is getting involved. The volunteer club at Central Oregon Community College is doing their part to bring Christmas to the children of low income homes by hosting a Dr. Seuss themed gingerbread house fundraiser and toy drive to aid Operation Elf Box.
Operation Elf Box is a community project started in 2010 by Josh Hart, who wanted to give back to his home town of Bend. OEB collects toy donations which are then displayed in an “elf store” where parents can come by appointment and pick out a gift for their children, and then wrap it on site to take home.
“It’s like a retail store without a cash register,” said Hart
To bring money to the cause, the volunteer club is selling gingerbread real estate to anyone who wants to participate in the cookie construction of a Whoville style town, inspired by Dr.Seuss’s “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.” With funding provided by the Associated Students of Central Oregon Community College, the volunteer club has purchased $260 worth of dough to be used for the project. Clubs or individuals can purchase a lot and the dough needed to build for a $25 fee, though participants will still need to buy their own candy to decorate their houses with. Founding member of the volunteer club, Maggie Skyler, said she requested that participants pay only by check and fill them out directly to OEB, as the club will be donating 100 percent of the proceeds. Skyler said that OEB is a cause that’s very close to her heart.
“Operation Elf Box helped me get my kids Christmas gifts last year, so I wanted to help out,”
So far only three of the spaces have been purchased, but Skyler said she thinks all of the lots will be purchased by the Nov. 10 deadline because people will believe in the cause.
“You give, but you also receive something in return… that tingly feeling you get knowing you helped a kid… that’s priceless,” said Skyler.
The gingerbread Whoville will be on display at COCC from Nov. 18 to Dec. 10, and Skyler said she hopes to find a place in town to display it from Dec. 11 until Christmas. Rather than charge an entrance fee to view the display, Skyler hopes that all viewers will bring a new unwrapped toy to donate to Operation Elf Box.
In addition, the volunteer club is also kick starting OEB’s toy drive by collecting donations before toy boxes are placed throughout the community, which will be done on Nov. 15. Donation boxes have been placed at COCC since Oct. 15, but so far there has been no response.
“So far the boxes are empty, which is kind of discouraging,” said Skyler.
Despite the lack of response, Skyler is hopeful that the COCC community will step up and help make a difference, either through the box donations or participation with the Whoville gingerbread event.
“It shows the community and everyone here that COCC just isn’t about the students…we really do care about the community.”
You can contact Cedar Goslin at firstname.lastname@example.org