The Food Elves were created in 2006 when Melissa and Cameron Piana began collecting donations in a wagon in their neighborhood. This tradition continues with Ellie Teixeira as lead Food Elf who took over this legacy last year from Cameron. More than 120 school-aged elves and 12 local businesses raised more than four tons (8,001 pounds) of goods and $11,000 for the Food Pantry. This year the Elves are asking for more monetary gifts because it gives the Pantry greater flexibility to meet community need.
“We are looking forward to building on the success the Food Elves have had, and this year we hope to raise more money. The Food Pantry can buy food at a much lower price than others can. And, they can buy exactly what they need for their clients,” says Ellie Teixeira, lead Food Elf.
|left to right, are Erin Lynch, Food Pantry executive director, and Lead Food Elves Ellie Teixeira |
and Julia Buccella. (Photo courtesy of Bob Teixeira)
The Franklin Food Elves is a charitable community service group comprised of more than 120 dedicated elementary, middle and high school students. This will be the sixth year the elves have partnered with local businesses to create one of the Franklin Food Pantry’s most successful collection drives. Each year the 12 Days campaign brings in food and cash to help sustain the pantry’s 504 client families through the winter.
In December the Food Elves will notify their neighbors about collection dates, instructions and items needed. The elves make it easy to donate; residents simply place bags of goods at their mailboxes on designated dates, and the elves pick up and deliver the goods to the Pantry. If residents prefer to make a monetary donation, Food Elves captains will also give instructions on how funds will be handled in their neighborhood.
“The Pantry has some lean months after the holidays, when end-of-year giving subsides and food drives happen less frequently,” says Erin Lynch, executive director of the Franklin Food Pantry.
“We count on the Food Elves to bring in the donations that help carry us through the winter months, a time when families who are struggling to put food on their tables face even harder times because of higher energy costs. We are so grateful for the hard work of the Food Elves and the gifts they bring to us,” she adds.
Lynch is hoping that more people give monetary donations. “We can purchase food from the Greater Boston Food Bank at a fraction of what it costs in the grocery store. We are able to supplement food donations with more nutritious and fresh food, such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products and meats.”
In case there’s no Food Elf in your neighborhood, it is still easy and convenient to donate. Participating Franklin Downtown Partnership member businesses all across town will have red collection bins at their locations. If the Food Elves meet their goal of collecting more than 1,200 pounds of goods, each business has pledged to donate at least $200 to the 12 Days of Donating drive. A list of businesses hosting red bins will be posted on the Food Elves Facebook page and the FDP website and Facebook page.
A red collection bin will also be set up at the Holiday Stroll tree lighting ceremony at Dean College on Thursday, December 1, at 4 p.m. Event goers can drop off donations there, or at the Food Pantry, 43 W. Central St. Please designate donations made at the Pantry as Food Elves.
The Food Pantry’s greatest needs currently are personal care items such as deodorant, shampoo, liquid hand soap, toilet paper and feminine products. To make an online donation in honor of the Food Elves, visit the Pantry’s website, franklinfoodpantry.org. Please mention Food Elves in the donation form’s acknowledgement box. For more information call 508-528-3115.
Any student interested in becoming a Food Elf should contact Ellie Teixeira at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the Franklin Food Elves and the “12 Days of Donating” campaign, please contact the Food Elves at email@example.com or visit their Facebook page. Information can also be found at franklindowntownpartnership.org and on the FDP’s Facebook page.