The Transylvania Times -

The Elves Of Brevard Rotary Just Keep On Giving


Last updated 8/2/2021 at 11:09am

Pictured left to right are: Karl Hosler, Brevard Rotary treasurer (and with TELCO); Sellers Shook, Rotary member, and the director at El Centro; Catherine Chapman, retiring Head Elf and founder of Elves of Brevard Rotary; and Mike Dexter-Smith, the president of Brevard Rotary.

In German mythology, Elves were thought of as beings with magical powers and supernatural beauty, capable of either helping or hindering everyday people.

Here in Transylvania, we have Elves of supernatural beauty who are only capable of helping everyday seniors.

The transition of the Elves program from its humble beginnings in 2016, with Catherine Chapman starting to write cards to residents of six care homes in the county, to. today, a team of community Elves, has been truly amazing. This Elvish team is one that Father Christmas would be proud of. Now, thousands of cards later, tens of televisions and thousands of Easter baskets and Christmas presents now under the Brevard Rotary umbrella, Chapman is passing the Elvish torch to two other Elves to continue and to grow the program.

The group averages 450 cards a month to the care homes, and on occasion to Meals on Wheels, Hospice of Transylvania and Mountain Care/Koala, as well.

Valinda Chandler will now be the Events Elf, undertaking the marketing and heading up all aspects of Elf business that involves activity director needs, holidays and special projects.

Amanda Lambert will coordinate the card "manufacture" around town and do the picking up of cards from TELCO. She will also be in charge of making sure that Ambassadors have cards to all facilities and filling in the gaps.

The Rotary Club of Brevard continues to support the program.

"It has been an amazing journey from one-to-many card makers, while always bringing so much joy to so many, especially through the difficult year, 2020," Chapman said. "It is always exciting to see the cards attached to the residents' mirrors and to receive the wonderful thank-you's from the residents and families alike. A thank you to the entire community is hugely important. Some make 10 cards and some do 25, 50 or 100, but the bulk is grassroots, ones and twos from individuals, families and groups across the county – like the TVS Life Group, the clerks at the courthouse and Rosman Elementary School. It's a countywide effort."

Rotary President Mike Dexter-Smith said the program brings "so much joy" to care home residents. "This year, the Elves will distribute over 10,000 cards to the approximately 450 care home residents – for many the only card they may receive in a year," he said. "I am hoping in the coming year that through Rotary we can get other clubs to replicate this amazing program in other counties. Many of the residents appear to have no local family or any visitors, and the monthly cards are their only connection with the community, indeed, the outside world. Initially, the cards were delivered by volunteers, but as with the world in general, COVID stopped that, and cards were sanitized before being delivered to residence staff, who handed them along to the residents."

Lambert said she was "humbled to be taking on such an amazing program that is in full swing."

Pictured are: Amanda Lambert, incoming Elf card manager; Catherine Chapman, retiring Head Elf and founder of Elves of Brevard Rotary; Valinda Chandler, Elf event and PR manager; and Easton Lambert, age 4, avid card-making Elf.

"I am aware of the history and the journey ahead," she said. "It is such an incredibly rewarding program for our Elves and residents, alike, letting our care home residents know that they are not forgotten and always appreciated. Thank you to all of the community members who have or have been involved and a general 'ask' for more card makers to get involved. It is as easy as making a card and dropping it off at TELCO in unsealed envelopes.

"We are always looking for new Elves to make cards and small tax-deductible donations that can be sent to the Elves c/o Brevard Rotary at PO box 375, Brevard 28712. "

To participate in card-making and helping the Elves, please contact Valinda Chandler on Facebook "Elves of Brevard" and messenger, or at (252) 290-7210.


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