CFDA Home pageHoliday Collection Drive

Operation E.L.F.

Connecticut Children's Medical Center



Over 50 Funeral Homes Welcome Holiday Donations through December 4th

WETHERSFIELD, CONN., November 12, 2019 - The Connecticut Funeral Directors Association (CFDA) has kicked off its 14th annual holiday drive to collect gift cards and toys for military families and for children and teens in the hospital. Starting today through Wednesday, December 4th, 54 funeral homes across Connecticut are welcoming donations from the public for Connecticut National Guard's Operation ELF (Embracing Lonely Families) program and for Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

In addition, on Thursday, December 5th from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., people can drop off items to CFDA's 131st Convention at the Sheraton Hartford South at 100 Capital Blvd. in Rocky Hill, Conn.

"As funeral directors and suppliers of the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association, we have held internal charitable holiday collection efforts for more than a decade, and this is fourth year that we also invite the public to bring donations of gift cards and unwrapped toys to local funeral homes," explains Edward J. Sheehy Jr., President of the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association. "By doing so, we add 53 convenient community sites that supplement these organizations' own collection efforts. We encourage state residents to take a few minutes and come donate an item that will mean so much to another Connecticut family."

All gift cards, toys and funds collected by the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association will be delivered directly to Operation ELF and to Connecticut Children's Medical Center before the holidays:

    Operation ELF will give these items to families of the Connecticut National Guard and all branches of the military with a loved one in the deployment cycle, that suffers financial hardship as a result of the call to active duty. Operation ELF welcomes gift cards of any dollar value for grocery or department stores, home supply stores, gas stations, and pharmacies, as well as unwrapped new toys for young people of any age.

    Connecticut Children's Medical Center toys and gift cards will be presented to young patients during the holidays and at different times of the year. Unwrapped toys should be appropriate for hospitalized infants, children, adolescents or teenagers that do not pose a safety hazard, such as those with sharp edges or small, removable or easily breakable parts. Hospitalized teens will receive gift cards they can enjoy.

Donations of gift cards and unwrapped toys may be dropped off during regular business hours at any of these 54 funeral homes now through December 4thDownload all collection locations here  (listed in alphabetical order of town/city)

The 131-year-old Connecticut Funeral Directors Association is comprised of funeral directors at more than 220 funeral homes. Based in Wethersfield, Conn., the professional organization is committed to the promotion and advocacy of high ethical standards in funeral service. This includes the development and presentation of ongoing professional training opportunities for practitioners and educational programs for association members and the public. For more information about the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association or its holiday collection drive, call 860-721-0234 or 800-919-2332.

The Connecticut National Guard Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c) (3) organization that provides emergency financial assistance for Connecticut National Guard members and their families. Operation ELF 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. For more information about Operation ELF, call 800-858-2677, or visit the Operation ELF Facebook page.

Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is a nationally recognized, 187-bed not-for-profit children's hospital in Hartford. Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best children's hospitals in the nation, we foster a patient- and family-centered environment with a focus on research, education and advocacy. Connecticut Children's serves as the primary pediatric teaching hospital for the UConn School of Medicine, has a teaching partnership with the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University and is a research partner of The Jackson Laboratory. Connecticut Children's welcomes, cares for and protects all children who walk through our doors. We are an institution of acceptance and compassion regardless of nationality or immigration status. For more information, visit



CFDA's 2018 Annual Holiday Collection Efforts A Great Success

For the 13th consecutive year, members of the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association (CFDA) continued their tradition of collecting for the Connecticut National Guard Service Member & Family Support Center's Operation ELF (Embracing Lonely Families) program. This year, the professional association also added Connecticut Children's Medical Center as a recipient of many of the toys. In addition to encouraging donations from the funeral directors and suppliers, CFDA recruited 44 funeral homes across the state to serve as community collection sites for toys and gift cards in November and early December. Funeral directors and their suppliers from across the state carried hundreds of unwrapped toys and gift cards into CFDA's 130th Annual Convention at the Red Lion Hotel Cromwell on December 6th.

13 Years of Supporting the CT National Guard Operation ELF

PICTURED with some of the toys collected by the CFDA are:
(left to right):

    John Cascio, CFDA Executive Director
    Jesse Gomes, 2019 Executive Board Member
    Edward Sheehy, Jr, 2018-19 CFDA President
    Melissa Melin-Miles, CFDA Executive Baord Member
    Alex Scott, CFDA Vice President
    David MacDonald, CFDA Secretary
    Danial Ford, NFDA Policy Representative
    Anthony Napoleon, Member


The “2006 Community Service Award” of the Connecticut Society of Association Executives (CSAE)

was presented to the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association (CFDA) for its fundraising efforts to help the Connecticut National Guard’s Operation E.L.F. program. The 118-year-old CFDA was honored for its year-round work in organizing funeral directors from around the state to purchase and donate gift cards from stores and gas stations. Operation E.L.F. then sends these cards to families of Connecticut National Guard stationed away from home who truly need help to make ends meet.

2006 Community Service Award
Pictured at CSAE’s Annual Meeting
(left to right):

CFDA Executive Director John F. Cascio;
CSAE Executive Director Lorna M. Bolduc, CAE;
Elsa and Jonathan P. Woyasz, CFSP, Vice President of CFDA; and
CSAE President Charles H.(Chip) Marsh, CAE


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