Tulsa Moms Start Project Elf To Help Clothe Needy Kids Year Round
By Carrie Netherton, 918Moms.com
TULSA, Oklahoma -- It's a busy time of year for elves but some in Tulsa are at work year-round. Project Elf makes sure school children have the basic needs, such as clothing, food and school supplies.
Two mothers, Terri Hozhabri and Laurie Tilley, started Project Elf five years ago when they noticed many school children needed the basics.
Letters like these reaffirm their decision:
"Thank you so much for the coat. My coat was stolen. My mom cried because she couldn't buy a new one."
"It was really thoughtful of you to give us jackets, without expecting anything in return."
"I love this coat because my favorite color is purple, and I love glitter."
"We decided to purchase some things for these kids, and we told some of our friends about it and they wanted to help and it went from there," said Terri Hozhabri.
Now, Project Elf is helping more than 80 schools, including Remington Elementary.
"We have kids who are walking the halls, their shoes are just floppin' away or they come to school and they don't have a school uniform, and their self-esteems are just crushed," said Dr. Cassandra Funderburk, Remington Elementary School principle.
Here is how Project Elf works: the school will let the organization know about a need, such as a piece of clothing or school supplies. Project Elf then sends a message to the elves who will provide the needs by either buying it or donating money. In most cases, the needs are met within a week.
"It astounds Terri and I every week, we'll say ‘hey, let's just send it out,'" said Laurie Tilley. "We don't know if we'll get a response or not, let's give it a try and we're always stunned by the response that we get."
There are 600 elves, and just like Santa's elves, they're anonymous.
The elves helped fill Remington Elementary's "closet" with clothes, laundry detergent and other hygiene products.
"Their face just lights up, they have to go around and show everybody what they have," Dr. Funderburk said.
The process helps self-esteem and helps students be more successful in school.
Something that gives the elves satisfaction.
Project Elf is always looking for new elves. You can sign up through a link on 918Moms.com.