The Milton Elf gives Santa a helping hand
Deserving locals get special presents, while random gifts sprinkled through the community as well
There's an elf at work in Milton, Ont., where more than 120 people have been surprised with small gifts left on their cars and front porches.
The Milton Elf is the holiday project of two residents of the town west of Toronto. On Facebook, locals can nominate someone deserving to be "elfed," though sometimes the elves strike at random, hanging stockings of treats from doors or leaving lotto tickets on car windshields.
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"We want the whole community to feel loved," Kay Loforte, one of the project's co-founders, told CBC Radio's Metro Morning.
We want the whole community to feel loved.- Kay Loforte, co-founder of The Milton Elf
So far, more than 124 people from all walks of life have been elfed, Loforte said, many of whom were nominated by the community. Loforte said anyone from a senior who's lonely to sick children to someone who is dealing with a job loss during the holiday season is eligible to be elfed.
So what's it like to receive a special gift from the elves?
"I just started crying," said Elaine Carter Cray, a mother of three and an active member of the local community.
"I just couldn't believe that somebody would think enough of us to elf us," she said, noting that she had actually nominated other people during the holiday season.
Loforte said delivering presents is also an emotional experience for the elves, themselves. Often, people immediately ask if they can pay for the present, but the elves quickly tell them to pay it forward instead.
The feeling is so good, she said, that she's still trying to squeeze in a few more elfings before Christmas, even though nominations have officially closed.
Idea came after injury
Loforte was volunteering with a friend in downtown Toronto to put together care packages for the homeless when the idea hit her.
She recalled that when she broke her ankle, there was no shortage of people from her community coming to drop off meals and help out until she got back on her feet.
That's what prompted her to return those acts of kindness. She cashed out some reward points she had, put together some money to buy some items on buy-and-sell groups online, and began leaving them on porches and steps of people in Milton who she knew could use the help.
As news of her project spread, others volunteered to help out.
"Without asking, donations started coming in," Loforte says, from local businesses and people in the community who wanted to help grow the elfing fund.
Loforte will need that fund. In just two weeks, the project has received over 400 nominations.