“It takes more energy to be negative than positive for negativity is a burden.”
As a community it is our responsibility to encourage positive growth and understanding. The next addition to the Niagara Showcase come together with similar interests to better the Niagara Region. They send love and care to those who might need it most. VCSM is proud to present:
Niagara Region Helping Green ELFS
Niagara Region Helping Green ELFS became an official organization in October of 2011 and work together with community resources to support the people in our region who need it the most. They strive to support and help in creative, caring and thoughtful ways.
Lisa Green is the founder and organizer of this non-profit organization. The passion she has for our region is endearing and inspiring. Her heart cannot be captured by one city (only her husband). Born and raised in St.Catharines, Lisa and her husband bought their first home in Port Colborne and worked as a trained chef for sixteen years in Niagara Falls. They have family and friends in Fort Erie, Thorold and Niagara On The Lake and reside in Welland.
“I have seen the beauty of our escarpment, enjoyed the drive in 3-4 night showings, hiked the trails, kayaked the lakes, gardened at our community gardens, walked along the canal (that brings our cities together and connects us all) Enjoyed some live music in the parks. The 5 cent carousel. the beauty of the Falls, Fun at Clifton Hill, History of 1812, the art, the unique people in our Region. “
Lisa is proud that the ELFS have grown in a short amount of time but feels they are still a hidden gem of the region. Starting as a home based, family, non – profit organization and over five years of operating their family has extended with many volunteers becoming good friends.
“Since I was a young girl I have always enjoyed volunteering in our community. I am a pretty open person, if someone strikes a conversation with me, I have always enjoyed the conversation back, sometimes leading to friendship, even good friends. One thing is for sure, this quality always lead me to meeting all kinds of people.”
Ever Loving Family Support
“Oh gosh, ‘When people ask what do you do?’
I usually give them a dumbfounded look,
not because I expect them to know,
because It is so much!
I usually laugh and say ‘What dont we do'”
The Annual Christmas Shop Free Event & Food Drive is what brought the members of this non-profit organization together. The event has been annually occurring for four consecutive years and they are preparing for their fifth. Open to the region they often see thousands of community members come through. As a result, thousands of pounds of food have been donated to local food banks. The items for sale are donated and gently used. They make sure to have variety of gifts to create a shopping experience for the whole family. Included in the event are a wrapping station, hot chocolate,candy, face painting, live music, games with prizes and a visit from Santa all for free. Donated items that are new or typically expensive are apart of a free raffle and attendees are invited to write their names down as many times as they can.
“The Idea is for families typically who are struggling through middle class to be able to shop for their family. A place for the siblings to shop for each other and even pick out something from their parents”
Christmas Family Adoptions is a chance to help out a family in need in your area. The ELFS encourage a combination of gently used and new items and the adopter delivers directly to the family.
“We say gently used because we feel, the ultimate bigger picture of things is a family who is in need. The toys really wont help the fact that they have 2-3 outfits, or no winter coat, no boots, they have condiments in their cupboard and fridge …. Although it is nice to get toys the family may need more.”
Helping Hand School Program delivers holiday baskets to lower income schools around the region and have delivered to over thirty-six schools and day cares. The ELFS add home made cards to their baskets and deliver regularly throughout Christmas and Easter.
“We know the schools know best who needs the help, the teachers, the secretary, the staff see the same kids that need help every day. We leave it up to them to pass the gifts on to the families who really need”
Christmas Adult Support is designed to positively impact lower income residents of Niagara. There are around 300 gifts delivered each year with homemade cards from volunteers.
“Christmas we drop off small gifts and homemade cards every year to people with low income and no family, in LTC facilities in the region, independent living and dependent living homes.”
Community Cheer Program takes referrals from people who think someone they care about is going through a hard time and send them a cheerful card made by one of their many volunteers.
Make A Bike Wish collects and fixes bikes with minor repairs. With the help of referrals from local schools and FACS, the ELFS pass them on to children who might not have a bike otherwise.
Valentines Day Womens Shelter Baskets are made for three to five women’s shelter locations in the region and are delivered annually.
Food Not Bombs Welland chapter is ran by Niagara Region Green Helping ELFS and see 20 to 100 people for dinner.
“Monthly we meet at Merritt Island in Welland and feed the struggling, poor and homeless. Volunteers to cook and donate food is always need! Our soup and deserts are absolutely delicious. We feed, we entertain, we have bins of personal hygiene stuff for people to take and sometimes clothing .”
Winter Warmth Boxes are open to anyone and located in Niagara Falls at the Victoria Avenue Library, Welland Library (by city hall) and St.Catharines Central Library. Volunteers donate new, gently used and homemade winter apparel.
“These are places that people in need tend to spend time at during cold days. These are opened to anyone who needs to take.”
Birthday Program sends a birthday package to families who cannot afford it. Typically it includes cake mix, icing and some decorations. Occasionally the package will include a cake or cupcake already made and a gift.
Halloween the ELFS make packages for the hospital urgent care and pediatric wards.
Towels and bedding for shelters.
Towels, bedding, food and toys for animal shelters.
Jackets, razors, deodorant, soap, and shampoo for local homeless men.
Last but not least a Free Clothing Drive where the ELFS run a clothing drives in local halls. They are always looking for more donated spaces, they provide everything and clean up afterwards. The next date is: Saturday October 1st at Holy Trinity Anglican Church (77 Division Street, St.Catharines) from 9am to 1pm. Free T-Ball in St.Catharines, Niagara Falls and Welland for children ages two and a half to twelve. Free first year of Ball Hockey in Welland for children ages three to twelve. Free Basketball in Port Colborne for children ages six to twelve.
“There is so much struggling, but there is warmth, friendship and beauty. I think the Region needs to go back to that small town feeling and just realize we are all humans and people just trying to fit in, make ends meet and belong.”
Niagara Region Helping Green ELFS Facebook Page
Instagram – @NiagaraGreenELFS
Phone Number – (905) 735 – 2680