The Franklin Food Elves and the Downtown Partnership launched the “12 Days of Donating” campaign to benefit the Franklin Food Pantry on December 1. This year’s collection drive marks 10 years that the Food Elves have helped neighbors in need during the holiday season.
The Food Elves were created in 2006 when Melissa and Cameron Piana began collecting donations in a wagon in their neighborhood. Last year more than 90 school-aged elves and 14 local businesses raised more than three tons (7,020 pounds) of goods and $8,500 for the Food Pantry. This year the Pantry acquired additional warehouse space to accommodate the expected donations.
“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 a lot with those funds, and we hope to surpass last year’s dollar totals,” says Ellie Teixeira, lead Food Elf.
The Franklin Food Elves is a charitable community service group comprised of more than 100 dedicated elementary, middle and high school students. This will be the fifth 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 600 client families through the winter.
The Food Elves 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.
According to Lynch, while nonperishable food donations are still needed and appreciated, she is hoping that more people make monetary donations. “It gives us greater flexibility to provide for our clients. 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.
Bins can be found at these participating locations:
- Chestnut Dental Associates, 38 Pond St.
- DCU, 500 West Central St.
- Dean Bank, 21 Main St.
- Dean College, Campus Center
- Emma’s Quilt Cupboard, 12 Main St.
- Franklin Downtown Partnership Office, 9 East Central St.
- Jane’s Frames, 11 East Central St.
- Keefe Insurance Agency, 51 West Central St.
- Murphy Business, 15 East Central St.
- Pour Richard’s Wine & Spirits, 14 Grove St.
- The Adirondack Club, 800 Chestnut St.
A red collection bin will also be set up at the Holiday Stroll tree lighting ceremony at Dean College on Thursday, December 3, 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 coffee, canned fruit, jelly in plastic bottles, aluminum foil and shampoo. To make an online donation in honor of the Food Elves, click here. Please mention Food Elves in the donation form’s acknowledgment 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.