Each year, families, businesses and groups of friends become holiday elves for families in need in the Greater Newburyport community. These families are our neighbors, co-workers and friends. Some have children in the public schools or YWCA childcare programs, some live in affordable housing, some are struggling to make ends meet. At the YWCA and NYS, we feel strongly that everyone should have a joyous holiday season. We need your help to make that happen. We are looking for elves that will fulfill the wishes of a family or help us make holiday wishes come true in other ways. We have been running this heartwarming and successful program for over 8 years. Last year, we worked hard to connect the local service agencies and schools to stream our efforts into a community wide program. Our staff elves work very hard to make this an organized, fun and joyous experience for you, our volunteer elves. We hope we can continue our magic this year as you make this decision to spread joy!
Information for elves
- Fulfill the wish list of a local family,
- Be paired with another family to fulfill the wish list (the YWCA will make the match),
- Fill stockings for single adults and elders,
- Donate gift certificates to Wal-Mart, Marshalls, Market Basket, Movie Theater, Dunkin Donuts, Ice Skating Rink, Bowling, etc,
- Volunteer to solicit donations from area businesses.
Frequently Asked Questions for ELVES
What is an elf?
Here are some ways that elves can make the season extra special for a family in need. They can:
Fulfill the wish list of a local family,
Be paired with another family to fulfill the wish list of a local family (the YWCA will make the match),
Fill stockings for single adults and elders,
Donate gift certificates to Wal-Mart, Marshalls, Market Basket, Movie Theater, Dunkin Donuts, Ice Skating Rink, Bowling, etc.,
Volunteer to solicit donations from area businesses.
How does someone become an elf?
Fill out an Elf Interest Form online or stop by Newburyport Youth Services or the YWCA to pick up a packet.
What happens after the person fills out the form?
Each Elf will be matched with family or a volunteer job that they choose and will be contacted with further information and instructions.
What is the timeline?
Elves Deadline: Interest Forms ……. Wed, November 13th
Elves will receive their matched families …… before Thanksgiving!
Elves will drop off purchased gifts …… Mon, Dec. 9- Fri, Dec. 13
Is there a deadline for signing up to be an elf?
No. Elves can sign up anytime. When an elf signs up later than Nov 13th, they are often matched with others or given last minute requests. They may be matched with a family or may help in another way as needed.
Where are gifts to be dropped off?
All gifts, including gift cards and stockings, are to be dropped off at Newburyport Youth Services (40 Milk St., Newburyport) between Monday, Dec. 9- Friday, Dec. 13. Special drop off hours will be sent to all elves.
Can I find our or tell people who the families we are helping?
No. The Mission of the YWCA is grounded in Dignity. In this program, dignity translates to confidentiality. Please respect the Elves and the families who are getting gifts by not discussing specifics about any elf, family or family member.
What if I know an individual or a family who needs help this holiday season?
Please refer them to the NYS or YWCA websites. Both will have a link to the program information.
Frequently Asked Questions about STOCKINGS
Who receives the stockings? Stockings are given to single adults and elders who are living in YWCA affordable housing, senior housing and at Nourishing the North Shore’s VEGOUT Mobile Market stops.
Are the stockings for men and women? Stockings are for both men and women. So please mark your stockings with an M or F.
Do these seniors also get other gifts from your program? No and for some this is all they get for the holiday. Some elves will use a gift bag instead of a stocking and include some small gift items with their stocking.
What usually goes in a stocking? When filling your stockings think about wishes and needs. So elves usually put in things like shampoo, soaps, razors, combs, toothbrush, tooth paste, nail polish, candy, gift cards, mittens, hats, fun or regular socks, cross word or sudoku books, candy canes, etc. (please no alcohol or scratch tickets).
Do I wrap the gifts in the stocking? You can do what ever you usually do for your family. Almost all of the stocking receivers live alone so there will be no conflict with differences between one stocking and another.
What if I want to do more for the program? You can also donate GC to the Elf program that we can use to fill family wishes. We also have some single gifts that are part of the list from bigger families like bikes, tablets and other medium to large ticket items for middle and high schoolers as well as elementary kids who need technology to do their homework.
Where do I drop off my stocking? Please drop the stockings off Drop off will be at the Newburyport Youth Center Milk Street Newburyport. We have totally out grown the YWCA! The staff there has been cued into our elfish escapades so they will be able to help you when you arrive. Specific dates and times will be provided.
Information for families
We want to make your holidays really special. Please complete the Family Wish list as well as you can and make sure to include all family members of your household, including adults! You will answer a few questions about your family and then have the chance to complete a section about each family member. At the end is a space to tell us anything else you want us to know! You will then be matched with elves who will work to fulfill wishes! We have opened this program to families living in the Greater Newburyport Area (including Newburyport, Salisbury, Amesbury, West Newbury, Newbury and Rowley).
Frequently Asked Questions for FAMILIES
Who can I talk to for more information?
Our coordinator’s information will be available online soon.
If I am in need of gifts for my family this holiday season how do I sign up for this program?
Fill out a wishlist online, or fill out a paper copy. Paper copies can be given to the contact person at your agency or dropped off at Newburyport Youth Services to pick up a packet. (40 Milk St., NBPT)
Who is eligible to participate?
Families living in Amesbury, Newburyport, Newbury, Rowley, Salisbury and West Newbury are eligible to participate.
Your immediate family is eligible to be included in this program. This includes parents (yourself), adults and children living full time in your household.
Can we ask for certain items we need?
YES, when you sign up you will be asked for needs and wish items for each person in your family.
How do we receive our gifts?
You will need to pick up your gifts. Pick up will be at Newburyport Youth Services (40 Milk St.) between December 18th and December 23rd. Hours will be released closer to the pick up date with daytime, nighttime and weekend hours. If you are not able to come to pick up your gifts, please contact Our Coordinator for an alternative arrangement.
Can we send a thank you note to our matched family?
Yes, you can send your note to the Coordinator or drop of at Newburyport Youth Services (40 Milk St., NBPT) and we will get the note to your matched family.