North Elba Christmas Fund seeking help

Laurie George, Holly Martin and Alexis Brown help pack holiday meal boxes in December 2018 for the North Elba Christmas Fund. (News photo — Andy Flynn)

LAKE PLACID — North Elba Christmas Fund officials are seeking help from the community in anticipation of their annual food, clothing and toy drive for families who need extra help during the holidays.

Zach Clark and his sister Cora Clark are co-organizing the program for the second year.

“We just try to reach out to people who need something,” Zach said, “whether it be food, whether it be clothes, whether it be toys. And a lot of people need all three of those things.”

Last year, they moved the clothing and toy drive from the North Elba Town Hall and holiday meal box preparation from the highway garage to the old Lake Placid hospital. This year, the clothing and toy distribution will be hosted by the Lake Placid Convention Center, and holiday meal boxes will be given to volunteer drivers for distribution at the Olympic Center’s USA Rink.

With many people out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic, Zach said he expects higher demand than previous years. Last year, there were about 150 food boxes and 165 families getting toys, gifts and clothing.

“People aren’t working or they’re working less hours, so they’re not making the money,” Zach said. “Obviously, they want to provide the best Christmas for their children that they can, but they also need to feed their kids.”

The distribution of gifts, toys and clothing will be on the second floor of the convention center on Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 16 and 17, and the meal boxes will be distributed the morning of Saturday, Dec. 19.

“The other two big things that are huge are the giving trees,” Zach said. Those “Elfing Trees” are located in the lobbies of the Palace Theatre and the Lake Placid Health and Medical Fitness Center. “On the tree are tags. It will say (for example) ‘Boy, 7’ and some of his likes.”

Following COVID-19 guidelines, people can choose a child’s wish from the tree on a tag, find the gift, bag or wrap it, attach the provided tag, and return the gift by Thursday, Dec. 10. For tags on the Palace Theatre’s Elfing Tree, gifts can be dropped off at the Bluesberry Bakery and Mary Ballou Design — located on either side of the theater doors — or the back porch of the Clark Funeral Home on Saranac Avenue, where they will be picked up and distributed to the families. The lobby of the theater is open from noon to 6 p.m. daily for people to pick up tags. There is one door for entry and one for exit. Hand sanitizer is supplied. There are multiple trees at the Palace this year so people can socially distance themselves from others. And face coverings are required.

The organization also provides fruit baskets to all of the residents of the Greenwood apartments and gives fleece blankets to all of the residents of Elderwood of Uihlein at Lake Placid, “So they are not forgotten,” Zach said. “This is all made possible through the generosity of the people and businesses of Lake Placid.”

For monetary donations, checks can be mailed to the North Elba Christmas Fund, 2693 Main St., Lake Placid, NY 12946, attention Cora Clark or Zach Clark.

For more information or to volunteer, contact Zach Clark by email at emmadelyn6@yahoo.com or Cora Clark at emmarjco@roadrunner.com or 518-523-1606.