Close to 30 funeral homes across Connecticut will welcome public donations of unwrapped toys and gift cards for the Connecticut National Guard\u2019s 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. \u201cOur 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,\u201d said Howard K. Hill, CFSP, CPC, CCO, the 2015 and 2016 president of the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association. \u201cBy doing this, we add 28 new Operation ELF drop-off locations to supplement the wonderful effort\u2019s 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.\u201d 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\u2019s 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,\u201d said Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, who launched Operation ELF\u2019s 15th annual collection effort earlier this month with Major General Thad Martin, Adjutant General of the Connecticut National Guard. \u201cI applaud the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association for their support and thank them for supporting Connecticut\u2019s troops.\u201d 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\u2019Esopo 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\u2019Esopo 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 ctfda.org or Connecticut Funeral Directors Association.