Why & How
Updated: Nov 4, 2018
Hey, this is Cocoa, I thought it would be a good idea to start this blog by telling you how the Care Gift Elves (TCGE) came to be.
So, it all started in 2016 when I asked for an iPhone for Christmas. I was nine at the time. My mom told me that there are more important things in life and that a phone is not a necessity. I didn't know what "necessity"meant so my mom and I sat down and had a little talk.
I wasn't aware of how lucky I was until that day. I guess I never really thought about how much I had already.
In my neighbourhood there is a family shelter called the Red Door Shelter. Sometimes, on my way home from school, I saw kids and moms walking in and out of the shelter and I realized that these families were like what my mom had been talking to me about. So I decided I wanted to help.
First my mom and I wanted to volunteer together but the shelter said I wasn't old enough. You have to be at least 15 years old. So, we started looking for things we could do to help. We decided to put together Christmas packages with things that they would need.
I asked my mom if I could get my friends involved and if I could come up with a name for our group. My mom said yes and so I started thinking of names. I chose "Elves" because it was around the Holiday season and we were going to gather gifts just like Santa's elves would. My mom said that I should include a word that would explain what "The Elves" are about and after lots of thinking we decided on adding "Care Gift" because I wanted to show that I cared about the kids and families that I was trying to help. That is how I came up with "The Care Gift Elves".
Then I asked five of my friends if they wanted to join my mission to spread kindness to the families at the Red Door Shelter and of course they all said yes. We were all super excited to make a difference in our community. It was a little bit like playing Santa, because we were shopping and gathering gifts for kids and moms and it felt AMAZING.
We made posters and flyers and started canvassing our neighbourhood and wrote to stores to get other people involved. We set up a wrapping, sorting and decorating station in our attic and put together gifts in wrapped and decorated shoeboxes. We also wrote Care Cards with encouraging messages like: "Stay Strong! or You are Beautiful!" Around mid December we all dropped off the care cards and shoeboxes filled with gifts at the Red Door Shelter. It's been AWESOME! As soon as we were done we were already talking about doing it again the next year.
From that one initiative we started coming up with more activities that we wanted to do to help. For example we hold a Spring Yard Sale where we sell our things to raise money for a cause. Last year it was for Syrian kids in a refugee camp Bridge of Peace. We also make bracelets for Mother's Day to raise funds, hold arts and craft events and much more...
To answer the WHY question... why did I start this group? Spreading kindness and making people smile is AWESOME. It makes you feel great inside and it is even more fun to do it with friends. We are not too young to make a difference. Anyone that wants to make a difference can, no matter what their age is. We are doing it, so you can do it too! We have lots of families in our community supporting our initiatives especially the shoebox gift drive. Two and three year olds have helped by decorating the cards or shoeboxes. See, age doesn't matter.
Pollution and plastics in the ocean, hunger, poverty, homelessness are just some of the things we care about and want to get involved in. It is our future, so we might as well fight for what is right and make the best out of it.