Finding My Inner Elf

Posted on December 4, 2017 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

St. Nicholas Shopping Day- Best Way to Kick Off the Holiday Season

Dashing thru White Plains K-Mart aisles overflowing with clothes and toys, I got to play Santa’s elf for Catholic Charities this past Saturday.

Over the whitened-by-florescent-light aisles my buddy, Teri, and I -- along with a small army of fellow elf volunteers -- went, laughing all the way.  No question; St. Nicholas Shopping Day is my favorite way to kick off the holiday season. 

Filled with holiday cheer, this marks the pinnacle of Catholic Charities NY’s team-player initiatives to serve New York’s most vulnerable families. Case managers help clients prepare lists of what they need most.  Donors provide funds.  Then volunteers like me grab lists, swap in shopping carts for sleighs and fill them with everything needed to make a struggling family’s Christmas bright.

Catholic Charities St. Nicholas Project ensures that more than 4,000 New Yorkers in need receive coats, hats, sweaters, blankets, and more each Christmas. Together we keep hope alive this Christmas season and serve many more than we ever thought possible!

Each family we shopped for was special; each of their needs unique. 

Teri and I shopped for Jaime, Letty and their three small children, Helena, Giovanny and Sofia.  The Christmas list we were handed said the dad, Jaime, works in construction and also paints apartment houses. The mom, Letty, works part time as a teacher’s assistant. With unsteady work, they struggle to make ends meet. Helena, 9, is a good student and likes to make bracelets.  Giovanny, 8, plays with cars and Legos and Sofia, 5, plays with dolls.  And each one of them needed coats, hats, pants and PJs to stay warm this coming winter. 

Should we buy Helena and Sofia matching outfits or would that make big sister Helena feel silly?  Would Giovanny prefer a sweater decorated with race cars or tractors?  And should we save the bulk of our allotment for a warm coat for their dad, Jaime, since he works outdoors in the cold?

As we tossed through piles of clothes, finding sizes and feeling fabrics to make sure they were soft and warm we somehow seemed to get to know “our” family.

And guess what?

It’s not too late to find your inner elf.

Our White Plains St. Nicholas Shopping Day serves as a practice run for we elves.  This season’s grand finale St. Nicholas Shopping Day takes place this Saturday, December 9 at the NYC Astor Place Kmart.

Join us and jingle all the way!

Donate to Catholic Charities St. Nicholas Project 

  • Every $75 gift provides one individual warm gifts needed this holiday season. 
  • $375 enabled us to buy coats and winter clothes for Jaime and Letty’s whole family!

Volunteer to shop, unload carts or sort and organize gifts for Catholic Charities St. Nicholas Project.

Take action. Make a gift to the Catholic Charities St. Nicholas Project today and help us reach our goal of $300,000 in support of those New Yorkers in need.



Catholic Charities is responding to the needs of our neighbors during the 
COVID-19 pandemic.

For Help Call 888-744-7900