Project Elf 2011

Our favorite project of the year is BACK!  Are you in?

Project Elf is a Holiday surprise to families that have recently moved out of the homeless shelter.  We pull together a team of Elves to gather supplies and gifts and then to sneak (with the families permission) into their house on Christmas Eve and make a very special holiday delivery. This is no smallprocess because often we are moving in furniture, hanging curtains, setting up beds, filling closets with new outfits, stuffing stockings, and filling  cupboards.  Our Elf team has just six hours to get everything done and get out of the house before the family returns. It is a magical experience for the family to come home to a BIG surprise while they were out Christmas Eve day.

We need your help before the actual day to gather items (listed below) from friends and family. The actual day we need a crew to load, unload, set up, clean and organize, and people to manage the delivery stuff as it gets assembled. LET US KNOW WHAT ELF PART YOU WANT TO PLAY! We will keep you updated with a weekly ELF Update as the gathering happens

Our Families this year

We have a unique situation this year because we actually have two locations one in Bloomington and one in Hopkins. Both families have moved out of the homeless shelter in the last 30 days. Both have “some” furniture, but we definitely have our work cut out for us this year.  We will need garage space to store the incoming gifts, and two team leaders for that day or work out a drop schedule. We will be delivering on Christmas Eve and we have just 6 hours to deliver, set up, clean, and get out.

The Families

The families we are helping are clients of PICA’s Project Secure. You can read about PICA and its programs here.

Anthony and Anthony are a father and son duo. The father is recovering from a terrible work accident that damaged both knees and left him unable to work. Anthony has done primarily warehouse management. He is now working through a re-injury on one of his knees. This is a rough recovery on top of parenting a young child.  His five-year old son Anthony is adorable and loves to explore. He loves maps and is an astronomy fanatic—he loves stars. Dad has a few nice pieces of furniture that he has collected and is very emotionally connected to. His existing theme of darker woods like cherry and mahogany are what we are looking for. This is a one bedroom apartment and the bedroom belongs to the child, so dad is sleeping on the floor of the living room. A pull-out sofa no bigger that a loveseat size would be perfect.
Anthony is striving to get out of survival mentality and he struggles to find new friends and new spaces that he can connect to.  We will need a team to work on the Bloomington drop.

  • Wish list so far
  •  Tan loveseat, pullout, or futon for Dad to sleep on- primary goal
  •  Bus cards- primary goal
  •  Flat screen TV
  •  Kid’s books
  •  Maps, guidebooks, BIG magnifying glass
  •  Storage containers
  •  Shoe storage
  •  Bathroom stuff: Shower curtain, shower hooks, bath mat, towels, wash cloths
  •  Small waste basket (really small)
  •  Soft BIG pillows to sleep on
  •  Warm cozy masculine looking blankets/bedding
  •  Bikes for both dad and son -they have only public transportation for the foreseeable future
  •  Dad needs clothes that are not t-shirts and jeans, and he also needs t-shirts and jeans and shoes.Size men’s large
  •  Dining table round, small dark wood
  •  Closet organization – rack
  •  Little boy room dresser
  •  Narrow bookshelf
  •  Nice  men’s dark winter coat size large for wearing to job interviews
  •  Men’s gloves, hat, scarf- job interviews
  •  TV and stand (must be flat screen—no room for any other kind!)
  •  Child size 13 shoe, boy’s clothes size 5T-7T
  •  Children’s twin sheets – Boys room
  •  Nice dishes that serve 6- masculine
  •  Paper, cleaning and laundry products


Our second family is Carmita and her three children, Kisi, 11 (boy), Quan Yin, 4 (girl), and Christian, 6 months (boyl).  Her story is amazing and we are so glad to be able to help her in this time of great need. Carmita is a young woman who is determined to leave the streets behind her and build a life for her children. She has been working hard for the last two years to build a new direction and has recently completed her GED. She is currently working as a temp at a bank.  She is full of life, and has a great outlook on her future and is ready to tackle going to night school and raising her family. The house has a theme of mint green and white and we are using all silver accents to bring a little shine into the space. We need it to sparkle as much as Carmita does. We are going to do the children’s room as not gender specific, but make the beds very personal.  Kisi loves sports and stuff to do on his bed like reading or playing hand-held games. He just loves to sit in his new bed alone without siblings.

We will need a team to work on the Hopkins drop.

Wish list so far

  •  Laptop for the family
  •  Diapers
  •  Kisi needs a bike- he is age 11 and has never has one – primary goal
  •  Quan Yin wants a bike too, but not as much as she wants Fairy everything- we’ve already gotten her a Tinkerbelle stocking. She is totally crazy about Tinkerbelle and Princesses.  We need wings, wand, and tinkerfluff.  She is less-but-still-totally-obsessed with Barbie and drags around a plastic bag of them everywhere she goes.
  •  Small desk lamp
  •  Bigger side table lamp
  •  Boy’s baby clothes 9 – 18 mos
  •  Girl’s clothes (very girlie) size 4T-6T
  •  SMALL Computer desk that will fit in a closet
  •  Gas cards
  •  Work clothes for a banking situation women’s size 16
  •  Cd player- kids love stories on CD!
  •  Table that seats 6
  •  Wheeled hamper (Laundromat)
  •  Full length mirror
  •  Bathroom stuff: Shower curtain, shower hooks, bath mat, towels, wash cloths
  •  Children’s books
  •  Queen/full size bed
  •  Kid’s dresser that is small enough to slip into a closet
  •  LONG panels of cloth to use as a room divider
  •  Nice salad bowl and tongs
  •  Table cloth and table decoration
  •  Target gift cards
  •  Girly stuff for mom-lotions, ect
  •  Paper, cleaning and laundry products
About Karen

Karen Karsten, CPCC, CAC, has had several business careers, in government, finance, retail and publishing. Each career was a building block that helped her create the life she has now as a coach, writer and executive director of Rich Chicks and Creative Principle of Think You Can LLC.

Her companies, Think You Can ( and Rich Chicks ( both explore the magic of prosperity and creating clarity about life values. Karen has total faith in the magic of belief. Notice how that works either way: belief of magic, magic of belief. Magic is there—in you, too. Take a moment right now and honor the magic in you.


  1. Hi
    I want to help.
    I can’t really buy anything, but I’ll look around the house.
    Put me to work, but I don’t lift more than 25 pounds

  2. Mickey,

    I acknowledge that I did not read this request until now, Darling! I’m scheduled to be out of town at this time and am willing to look at participating if you do any follow up activities with these families, especially if it involved music, ie singing “Happy Birthday” over the phone or showing up at a birthday party to sing. Please keep me in mind for that!

    With much Love & joy in knowing you,

    Celebrating magnificence!

Speak Your Mind