Project Elf is a program at Mesabi East where a group of high school students raise money through donations to help less fortunate families within our school district have a brighter holiday season. Last year with the help of our communities, Project Elf was able to help thirty-three families. With the funds raised, the students hope for items on a list of “needs” and “wants” for each child provided by the parents. The program facilitator takes a small group of students to shop for the families. The students are given a budget and purchase the needs of the children first and then with the remaining funds they will get some of the wants on the list. The students do an amazing job of working with the budget they are given and making the decisions that will allow the budget to stretch, giving the children as much as possible. The value of this program is really two fold. We are able to help many of our students receive basic needs that they may have a Christmas time and it also teaches those who volunteer the importance of becoming involved in their community.
Project Elf is funded strictly through the generosity of various companies, civic organizations, church groups, and individuals in our communities in the form of monetary donations, gift items, food and other items needed. There is no overhead cost for this program and every donation received goes to the children. Project Elf has been successful by seeing the same students wanting to volunteer each year as well as many new students who want to get involved. Also, we have many who are repeat donors who give generously each year and continue to support this program to ensure its success. The greatest moment is when we have a past recipient become a donor to the program. There is no greater gift than to see it come full circle for some people.