Project Elf Helping Tulsa School Children
By Chris Howell, Newson6.com
TULSA, OK -- Terri Hozhabri and Laurie Tilley were just trying to help a few school children with their need for new shoes. These anonymous gifts were the humble beginnings of Project Elf.
"We started with three schools and we got our friends together, our list, and we had about thirty friends on email," said Laurie Tilley.
This small group would accept requests from school counselors within Tulsa Public Schools.
"And so the counselors would say, we need this, and we would send it out to our friends, real grassroots, real simple," said Laurie Tilley.
From a simple start, Project Elf now helps over 40 schools and has 400 volunteers.
"The elves are the heart of the whole program, they are just amazing. They are just a list of friends, and friends of friends and people who have shown an interest in wanting to help and they're on an email list. We just send the needs out to all of them and they deliver," said Terri Hozhabri.
Project Elf delivers school clothing, backpacks and supplies in plain brown sacks. They don't seek recognition for their good deeds. The compassion shown by its volunteers has astounded founders Terri and Laurie, and the people wanting to help just keeps growing.
"It's been amazing. They've told their friends and said ‘put this friend on the list. Put this friend on the list.' So that's how our email list has grown," said Laurie Tilley.
"We have seen a lot more need this year, but it hasn't stopped the giving hearts of our elves. It just seems like they have kicked in more so. It just brings tears to your eyes," said Terri Hozhabri.