Operation Elf party planned for Framingham
Regardless of a family’s finances, Sarah Blumenstock Girrell believes that all children deserve holiday magic.
For the 11th year, the founder of Operation ELF (Everybody Loves Families) and her husband, Kris Girrell, are leading a volunteer effort to spread holiday spirit to hundreds of local children.
The Girrells, who live in Andover, are expecting their biggest year yet, with wish lists from 900 children to fulfill. Last year, the organization provided gifts for 688 children and more than 100 boxes of household goods to families in need, thanks to donations of toys, supplies and $6,600 in cash from area residents.
According to Blumenstock Girrell, sponsors are asked to purchase two items per child: one cold-weather item of clothing, and one gift from the child’s wish list. They are provided only with the children’s first names, ages, and sizes to protect their privacy.
Community members are needed to assist in sorting the presents, which are to dropped off at a holiday party Dec. 11 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Eagles Lodge, 55 Park St. in Framingham. The event will include a potluck meal, silent auction, music and face painting for young volunteers, dreidel and other games, a visit from Santa, raffles, and a collection of nonperishable food items to provide holiday baskets for families.
At the party, the gifts will be organized for delivery to organizations that will pass them on to children and families. In addition to new toys and other presents for the wish lists, Operation ELF also accepts gently used clothing, toys, furniture, and other household goods. The items are distributed through agencies across the region, including Children’s Services of Roxbury Inc., Community Advocacy Program in Roxbury, Cradles to Crayons in Brighton, Grace Renaissance Academic Study Program in Dorchester, Nashua Children’s Home in Nashua, New England Center for Homeless Veterans in Boston, Project Hope in Roxbury, Transition House in Cambridge, and Victory Programs in Roxbury.
In its first year, Blumenstock Girrell said, Operation ELF sponsored 85 children. Now parents are e-mailing the organization to ask for support.
“The more volunteers we get,’’ she said, “the bigger impact we can make.’’
SINGING HER PRAISES: Singer and songwriter Stacey Peasley (inset) of Natick recently won recognition from the Parents’ Choice Foundation, which gave her debut CD, “Together,’’ its Recommended Award this fall.
Peasley’s songs describe playing with friends, traveling in the car, growing up too fast, and the love between a parent and child. Last year she was honored as the “Best Party Entertainer’’ in a survey of parents by the Nickelodeon Parents Connect organization, and she was awarded a silver medal in the Mid-Atlantic Songwriter’s Competition for her song “Soapy Bubbles.’’
Peasley launched and now oversees the Boston chapter of Music for Aardvarks and Other Mammals, a children’s program based in New York City.
“I’m so honored to be chosen for this nationally recognized award,’’ Peasley said of the Parents’ Choice citation. “I feel very fortunate to be able to do what I love.’’
For more information, visit www.staceypeasley.com.
ART ON DISPLAY: Arlington resident Peter Zimmerman, who works in hand-blown and soda glass, is one of more than a dozen area artists who are participating in Winter Lights IV, an annual holiday exhibition at the Loading Dock Gallery, part of the Western Avenue Studios complex at 122 Western Ave. in Lowell.
The show opens Wednesday and runs through Jan. 1.
A reception with the artists will be held Saturday, 5 to 7 p.m., at the gallery, on the second floor of the A Mill building. Regular gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For more information, call 978-349-8069 or visit the gallery’s website, www.theloadingdockgallery.com.
PERKINS HOLIDAY CARDS: The Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown is offering holiday cards (above) featuring artwork by its students. The eight cards in this season’s series depict colorful winter scenes, including a snowman, the North Pole, a wintery forest, and snowflakes. All of the student artists are blind, and some have additional disabilities, such as deafness.
Proceeds will support Perkins programs and services that help infants, children, and adults who are blind, deaf and blind, or visually impaired.
The 5-by-7-inch cards are sold in packs of 10 for $10, with volume discounts available. Cards can be customized with a personal message or company logo for an additional fee.
For more information, call 617-972-7833 or visit www.perkins.org/holidaycards.
People items may be submitted to Cindy Cantrell at email@example.com.