Project Elf seeking donations of toys for local families in need

By Jennifer Coe - ReminderNews
Windsor Locks - posted Wed., Dec. 4, 2013
Laura Martin and Jon Dodge are two Windsor Locks High School seniors who are trying to make a difference in the community. They are requesting all donations for Project Elf be donated by Dec. 13. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

Two local teenagers, Jonathon Dodge and Laura Martin, would like to put a new toy in the hand of every needy child in Windsor Locks.

The two friends were looking for a way to fulfill their high school’s senior project requirement when they remembered something Dodge’s mom had done in the community some years ago. “Project Elf,” a program that collected toys for financially-stressed families, had been started, but failed to materialize in recent years.

Dodge and Martin have brought Project Elf back to life.

Both of the teens are no strangers to community service. “For years I have helped my mom with community service,” said Dodge.

“I have done community service through my town for as long as I can remember,” said Martin.

When they approached Windsor Locks Social Services with the concept, Christina Morra-Tiu leaped at the opportunity. Dodge explained, “We told them that we wanted to give back to the community and they thought that this was a good idea to give a happy holiday to a lot of families.”

“Each year they have a list of families that need help and they struggle to help all of them,” said Martin.

Morra-Tiu couldn’t be more pleased. “I am very excited that Jonathon and Laura decided to handle Project Elf,” she said. “I think it is a great way for our younger people to give back.”

“Project Elf is very important to me because I find it important to be able to grant each child a holiday experience, no matter the circumstance,” said Martin. “I think when it’s all done and toys are collected, I will feel good knowing I helped my own town.”

Currently, donation boxes are stationed at several locations throughout town such as Windsor Locks High School, Windsor Locks Middle School, St. Mary’s Church and St. Robert’s Church. Donations can also be brought straight to Christina Morra-Tiu at the Town Hall.
“We have until December 13 and would like donations as soon as possible,” added Dodge.

Martin and Dodge are hoping people will bring new, unwrapped toys, mittens, hats, etc.

For more information on the project, go to

Other opportunities in town to donate are available as well.

“Adopt-a-Family” is a program run by Social Services where someone can request to “adopt” an entire family for the holiday season.

In this program, you will be given the first name of your child/children, age, gender, clothes sizes and a wish-list. Sponsors can buy the presents for the family, wrap them, put the names on each gift and bring them to Social Services by Dec. 17 for delivery. Contact Social Services at 860-627-1446 for more information on how to participate in “Adopt-a-Family.”

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