Funeral homes hold toy drive for CT National Guard’s Operation ELF

Close to 30 funeral homes across Connecticut will welcome public donations of unwrapped toys and gift cards for the Connecticut National Guard’s Operation ELF collection drive Thursday, Nov. 17 through Wednesday, Nov. 30.

For the past 11 years, members of the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association (CFDA) have made personal donations of toys, gift cards and funds for Operation ELF (Embracing Lonely Families). That yearly collection drive has been so successful that the professional funeral service organization is encouraging Connecticut residents to join them in a statewide collection drive.

“Our family of Connecticut funeral directors and suppliers is expanding our annual Operation ELF collection drive to encourage state residents to assist military families who could use help during the holiday season,” said Howard K. Hill, CFSP, CPC, CCO, the 2015 and 2016 president of the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association. “By doing this, we add 28 new Operation ELF drop-off locations to supplement the wonderful effort’s four major sites. We ask everyone to step forward, take a few minutes of their time, and come donate an item that will mean so much to another Connecticut family.” In addition, on Thursday, Dec. 1, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., people may also bring unwrapped toys and gift cards to the CFDA’s annual Convention at the Radisson Cromwell Hotel at 100 Berlin Rd. (Route 372) in Cromwell.

All items collected by the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association will be delivered directly to Operation ELF, which assists the families of Connecticut National Guard soldiers and airmen who are deployed during the holidays, and provides a wide range of support to military families throughout the year.

Needed are donations of unwrapped toys for young people of any age, and gift cards of any dollar value to grocery, department stores, home supply stores, gas stations, and pharmacies.

"We are grateful that our military men and women have bravely answered the call to duty. Operation ELF makes that deployment just a little bit easier for their families,” said Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, who launched Operation ELF’s 15th annual collection effort earlier this month with Major General Thad Martin, Adjutant General of the Connecticut National Guard. “I applaud the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association for their support and thank them for supporting Connecticut’s troops.”

In 2015, Operation ELF distributed more than $10,000 in gift cards to military families in need, its Adopt-A-Family program supported more than 125 military families, and hundreds of toys were distributed to children of soldiers and airmen.

Donations to the following CFDA funeral homes may be dropped off during regular business hours from Nov. 17-30.

  • Carmon Funeral Home & Family Center, 301 Country Club Rd., Avon, 860-673-8610

  • Funk Funeral Home, 35 Bellevue Ave., Bristol, 860-583-4107

  • Alderson-Ford Funeral Home of Cheshire, 615 S. Main St., Cheshire, 203-272-7209

  • Cornell Memorial Home, 247 White St., Danbury, 203-748-4833

  • Edward F. Adzima Funeral Home, 253 Elizabeth St., Derby, 203-735-0111

  • D’Esopo East Hartford Memorial Chapel, 30 Carter Street, East Hartford, 860-568-9420

  • Shaughnessey-Banks Funeral Home, 50 Reef Rd., Fairfield, 203-255-1031

  • Spear-Miller Funeral Home, 39 South Benson Rd., Fairfield, 203-259-0824

  • John F. Tierney Funeral Home, 219 West Center St., Manchester, 860-643-1222

  • John J. Ferry & Sons Funeral Home, 88 East Main St., Meriden, 203-235-3338

  • Mystic Funeral Home, 51 Williams Ave., Rt. 1, Mystic, 860-536-2888

  • Erickson-Hansen Funeral Home, 411 South Main St., New Britain, 860-229-5676

  • Howard K. Hill Funeral Service, 1287 Chapel St., New Haven, 203-624-4477

  • Newington Memorial Funeral Home, 20 Bonair Ave., Newington, 860-666-0600

  • Thomas L. Neilan & Sons Funeral Home, 48 Grand St., Niantic, 860-739-6112

  • Burke-Fortin Funeral Home, 76 Prospect St., Rockville, 860-875-5490

  • Rose Hill Funeral Home, 580 Elm St., Rocky Hill, 860-529-3381

  • Ralph E. Hull Funeral Home, 161 West Church St., Seymour, 203-888-2538

  • Riverview Funeral Home, Inc., 390 River Rd., Shelton, 203-924-6800

  • Samsel & Carmon Funeral Home, 419 Buckland Rd., South Windsor, 860-644-2940

  • Adzima Funeral Home, 50 Paradise Green Place, Stratford, 203-375-2200

  • Cook Funeral Home, 82 Litchfield St., Torrington, 860-482-4456

  • Gleeson-Ryan Funeral Home, 258 Prospect St., Torrington, 860-489-4104

  • B. C. Bailey Funeral Home, 273 South Elm St., Wallingford, 203-265-1111

  • Wallingford Funeral Home, 809 North Main Street Ext., Wallingford, 203-269-7777

  • D’Esopo Funeral Chapel, 277 Folly Brook Blvd., Wethersfield, 860-563-6117

  • Potter Funeral Home, 456 Jackson St., Willimantic, 860-423-2211

  • Carmon Community Funeral Home, 807 Bloomfield Ave., Windsor, 860-688-2200

Donations may also be dropped off through Dec. 12 during normal business hours at the following Operation ELF collection sites. Large quantity donations or anyone requiring drop-off outside of business hours, should call 800-858-2677.

  • Army Aviation Support Facility, Bradley International Airport, 85-300 Light Lane, Windsor Locks

  • Armed Forces Reserve Center, 90 Wooster Heights Road, Danbury

  • New London Armory, 249 Bayonet Street, New London

  • William A. O'Neill Armory, 360 Broad Street, Hartford

Gift cards or financial contributions (made through the CT National Guard Foundation) may be mailed to Connecticut National Guard, Office of Family Programs, 360 Broad Street, Hartford, CT 06105.

For more information about Operation ELF, call 800-858-2677 or visit the Connecticut National Guard Facebook page.

For more information about the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association or its Operation ELF collection drive, call 860-721-0234 or 800-919-2332, or visit or Connecticut Funeral Directors Association.