HARTFORD — Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the Connecticut National Guard today kicked-off this year’s Operation E.L.F.(Embracing Lonely Families) to help Connecticut’s military members and their families during the holidays.
“Our service members and their families deserve our gratitude every day, but especially around the holidays when they may be a half-world away from each other,” Rell said. “We are in tough economic times, but during the holidays, let us not short-change the joy that children deserve, especially when their mom or dad is far away protecting our freedoms. They are looking out for us. The least we can do is look out for their families.”
Rell said 620 Connecticut National Guard soldiers and airmen are currently deployed in Iraq andAfghanistan. Those soldiers and airmen collectively have 390 school-aged, dependent children, and a total of 960 family members are affected by their deployment.
The public can support a service member and their families by donating grocery gift cards, department store gift cards, phone cards and new, unwrapped toys.
Donations of fuel oil, Christmas trees, snow removal services and financial contributions may also be made to the Connecticut National Guard Foundation, Inc.
Many of the toys that are collected will be distributed to deployed families during a special holiday dinner in December. Other toys will be held by families to be placed under trees on Christmas morning.
The Operation ELF donation hotline is (860) 524-4924.
Many military families face financial pressures because activated soldiers have seen the elimination or reduction of their civilian job paychecks and Operation E.L.F offers an “Adopt-a-Family” for them. The governor said individuals and businesses are encouraged to “adopt” one of these families to help them have wonderful holiday season.
Donations may be dropped off at the following armories from now through December 13, 2010 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. –
Army Aviation Support Facility William A. O’Neill Armory
Bradley International Airport 360 Broad Street
Route 75 Hartford, CT 06105
Windsor Locks, CT 06096
Waterbury Armory New London Armory
64 Field Street 249 Bayonet Street
Waterbury, CT 06702 New London, CT 06320
63 Armory Road
Stratford, CT 06614
38 Stott Avenue
Norwich, CT 06360
You can support a Soldier by supporting their family with the donation of a gift card to a local grocery or department store, gas station or pharmacy. These cards can be given to families so that they can choose what they need most. Cards of any denomination are most welcomed and appreciated.
Gift cards may be delivered to any one of our drop-off locations or, if you prefer, they can be mailed to:
Connecticut National Guard
Office of Family Programs
360 Broad Street
Hartford, CT 06105-3795
If mailing a donation, please be sure to include your name, address and phone number so that we can send an appropriate acknowledgement of your contribution.
Another is the Adopt-A-Family program to assist those families who are suffering an extreme financial hardship as a result of their service member’s call to Active Duty. Individuals or businesses may “adopt” a family from this category and help them have a great holiday season. The name of the family is never revealed to the adopting person or organization. Rather, a summary of the family’s demographics and wish list are provided. Gifts are delivered by that family’s case worker along with any the name of the donor, if so desired.
The Connecticut National Guard Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that was established in April of 2003 for the purpose of providing emergency financial assistance for Connecticut National Guard members and their families. All donations are fully tax-deductible.
Donations to the foundation can be sent to:
Connecticut National Guard Foundation, Inc.
360 Broad Street, Box 53
Hartford, CT 06105-3795