family to family holiday program

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Did you hear the bells?  See the reindeer?  Feel the magic?  That was the joy that over 230 families and 180 seniors experienced this holiday season! 

We were stunned by the generosity of our community.

Special thanks to Paula at Carry Out Cafe and Meghan at Starbucks who were are Tree Elves this year! 

  We will begin our elf search in October 2020, if you want to join us.  Look for sign up information here.

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

Elf Sign up form
About Elving…
Here are some ways to make the season extra special for a family in need. Your family or company can:
  • 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 are pausing in our application process to match up  families who have already sent in their wish list to elves.  At the end of that process, we will decide when and if we can accept any more applications.