Project Christmas Elf returns to help Okanagan families in need | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Project Christmas Elf returns to help Okanagan families in need

Kunal Chander, right, is grateful for the support Project Christmas Elf has seen since Bean to Cup began supporting the project. Coffeehouse patrons Theresa Robertson, Mhairi Todd and Murray Robertson help Chander show off the donations received.
December 08, 2019 - 6:00 PM

Christmas wouldn't be possible without Santa's elves.

As more families apply for support through the fourth annual Project Christmas Elf in the Okanagan and Shuswap, so to does support for the program grow.

Kunal Chander, manager of Bean to Cup in Vernon, said his team is honoured to be collecting donations on behalf of the project.

"It's hard work. Kathy (MacKay, organizer), she's just a powerhouse," Chander said of the woman behind Project Christmas Elf.

In the short time that the coffeehouse has been accepting donations, Chander said he has seen the incredible community support.

"The need is so much higher than it was last year. We have so many families in desperate circumstances feeling a lot of financial distress," said MacKay. "125 families have applied so far and it is just the beginning of December."

MacKay said more than 90 families have already been adopted.

Project Christmas Elf started in Vernon in 2016 with a Facebook page that sought to pair families experiencing financial distress with those who could offer assistance.

The process is simple: a family reaches out to the project coordinators, who then post what that family needs as well as an anonymous biography. The Christmas elves can then donate the listed items, whether it's a tangible gift or services such as a haircut.

While the project began in Vernon, it is open to families across the Okanagan and Shuswap.

"(There has been) such incredible support from the community," MacKay said.

For more information about the project, visit Project Christmas Elf Okanagan and Shuswap on Facebook.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Parker Crook or call (250) 864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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