No Santa, no gift wrap, but Elf Louise still delivering Christmas joy

Nonprofit needs volunteers to hand out gifts to 5,625 families in need

SAN ANTONIO – Not a creature is stirring inside the cavernous warehouse turned Elf Louise workshop.

The dolls, toy trucks, and more are ready, but the facility at Port San Antonio is quiet as a mouse as the nonprofit tweaks its traditions to keep its volunteers healthy.

Despite the pandemic, canceling was never even a thought.

“Never even crossed my mind,” said Bill Harrison, executive director for 30 years at the Elf Louise Christmas Project.

Now gearing up for year 52, Elf Louise is seeing big demand. More than 18,000 children are on their list

The spirit is the same, but the program will look different this year. For starters, there will be no gift-wrapping sessions, always popular with volunteers.

“We couldn’t put 100 people in a room to wrap a present and have to sanitize the scissors, have to sanitize the Scotch tape, have to sanitize the tables,” Harrison said.

Not even a pandemic can stop Elf Louise from delivery Christmas joy, but there will be some changes. (KSAT)

And, there will be no delivery by Santa Claus and his teams.

“We couldn’t put a Santa Claus in a Santa suit that we couldn’t possibly be sure was absolutely cleaned every time it was worn,” he said.

Instead, families will receive letters with instructions to come pick up their bag of unwrapped toys.

That’s where Elf Louise still needs help. They are signing up volunteers to work shifts beginning Dec. 10 to help give the toys to the families.

Click here for shift and sign-up information.

Donations of new toys are accepted, too, weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 333 Morris Witt at Port San Antonio.

While Elf Louise will forego some of the festivities this year, they are hanging tight to their mission of providing a few gifts and a lot of holiday hope.

“We are giving out love and understanding and joyful approach to Christmas,” Harrison said. “We can’t do without that.”

About the Authors

Marilyn Moritz is an award-winning journalist dedicated to digging up information that can make people’s lives a little bit better. As KSAT’S 12 On Your Side Consumer reporter, she focuses on exposing scams and dangerous products and helping people save money.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.

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