Dec. 6, 2012
Programs that give to children have more needs than ever
Two gift drives on campus for children -- Cops, Kids and Toys and the Elves Program -- anticipate needing more donations than ever before.
Cops, Kids and Toys, started by the Ithaca Police Department more than 30 years ago and today involving every law enforcement agency and probation department in Tompkins County, including Cornell Police, delivered toys to 1,419 children in 750 families last year. This year, 1,476 children already are signed up.
The program is run completely by volunteers who give time, toys and money. Parents identify their children's needs by signing up for the program at any police or probation department. Funds are raised throughout the year, such as from Cornell's Dump and Run program. In addition, 80 boxes throughout the county collect donations of new toys.
Drop-off locations on campus are at the Biotechnology Building, Campus Store and Vet College. Locations countywide are listed online.
For the Elves Program, nurses and social workers at area elementary schools identify children in need and provide information on their ages, sizes and toy preferences to the program leaders. These leaders then distribute the lists so that "elves" -- individuals, groups and organization -- can purchase and wrap every item on the list for specific children; gifts range from socks and underwear to a new outfit and new toy. The gifts are delivered to the school or child's home. The anonymity of the children and their parents is protected.
This year, the list of children needing elves is long, according to Bill Alberta, founder and leader of the Elves Winter Holiday Program since 1989. He encourages everyone in the Cornell community and beyond to consider participating in this program, which has reached more than 900 children from 33 area schools in recent holiday seasons and is expected to help more than 1,000 children this year.
For those who would like to make a donation, rather than to shop and gift wrap, a check payable to "The Elves" can be sent it to Maureen Brull, 130 Day Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853. Every penny contributed goes to buying the gifts.
For more information, see www.elves.cornell.edu/.