Troy van Dongen, 5, of Nanoose Bay’s Springford Farm, finishes placing an elf gift tag on the farm market’s tree as part of the Nanoose Community Society’s Christmas Elf Program last week. — J.R. Rardon photo

Nanoose Bay elves deliver Christmas joy

Annual NCS toy donation campaign kicks off in nine locations

The workshop is all set up and Chief Elf Maureen Moore and her team of elves are busy preparing to wrap the gifts that will be coming in from across Nanoose Bay as Christmas quickly approaches.

Trees with gift request tags have gone up in nine locations across the community, part of the Nanoose Community Services’ (NCS) Christmas Elf program. The program offers a chance for local residents to again be involved in making Christmas a little brighter for neighbours who cannot afford to celebrate on their own.

“I find that the people donating the gifts are as excited as the people receiving them,” Moore said with a laugh. “They find it very rewarding to be a Nanoose Christmas elf.”

Those who have registered with the Nanoose charity will receive at least one gift and each child will receive a toy and a pair of pyjamas. Donors may select an elf-themed gift tag from one of the trees spread through the community and purchase an age-appropriate gift for that recipient.

Some generous donors have opted to sponsor a family rather than pick a tag and have fun, sometimes with their own children, selecting gift items for mothers and fathers, children and sometimes senior couples or singles. Families receiving packages will come to workshop headquarters at Nanoose Place just before the big day to pick up their bags of goodies.

Moore and her volunteer elf co-ordinators, Karen Murphy and Geraldine Taron, along with other helpers will be spending every day for about two weeks wrapping gifts and assembling family bags.

This year, for the first time, the program is offering a grandparent gift registration. Any Nanoose Bay grandparent who is in need of a little help purchasing gifts for their grandchildren can register with Moore’s team and the “elves” will help them find just the right thing.

Last year more than 140 children and nearly 50 adults received gifts from Santa and Moore expects similar numbers this year. As program director, she has been in the Chief Elf job long enough to know what people want and need, everything from turkey vouchers to clothing, toys, tools or household items.

Residents who wish to donate can go to any one of the following Centres in Nanoose Bay hosting a Christmas Elf tree this year to select a tag: Nanoose Place, Nanoose Post Office, St. Mary’s Church, Fairwinds Wellness Centre, Springford Farm Market, Jim’s Gym in Parksville; Nanoose Bay Elementary School (tags only), Nanoose Bay Dental (tags only) and Craig Bay Clubhouse (tags only).

To sponsor a family or for more info, contact Maureen Moore at 250-468-5554.

— NEWS staff and NCS submission

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