Elves on the Rock, a group of local Bainbridge Islanders, has gathered donations with a total value in excess of $10,000, including gifts of toys, clothing, groceries, and basic necessities. The group was founded to address the immediate needs at the local level. Said Joe Wettleson, one of the group’s founders, “we just want to be in the Christmas spirit of neighbors helping neighbors.” Another group Elf, Greg Beemer, recalls that his parents along with many other old island families did something similar in the 60’s and 70’s, and is glad to see it resurrected.
The group consists of many individuals that are active in the community and with a pulse on where and who may be experiencing difficulty or otherwise may have gone without assistance this holiday season. Additionally, other community members aware of the group’s intent nominated families that were then vetted by committee. What started in early December as a hope to reach a few families grew quickly thanks to the outpouring of support from Bainbridge residents as well as businesses and even some outside of the immediate area. The majority of donations were gathered from community members with an open call to drop off donations of goods to Bainbridge Self Storage and through an online auction with a wide variety of local businesses, artists, and individuals showing their support with donated items. Many were bid far beyond their value, and a couple of very generous donors gifted in addition to the bids for the items they’d won. With such tremendous support, the group was able to provide holiday cheer to more than 35 households as well as provide for ongoing support for the homeless. Gifts provided to families and individuals were based on number of household members, need, and ability to fulfill those needs with donated goods and services.
Elves on the Rock plans to be around next year for Christmas giving and will likely plan and administer other events during the course of the year.