CFDA Home pageHoliday Collection Drive

Operation E.L.F.

Connecticut Children's Medical Center



    Over 40 Funeral Homes Welcome Holiday Donations through December 5th

WETHERSFIELD, CONN., November 13, 2018 - For more than a decade, the funeral directors and suppliers of the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association (CFDA) have collected toys and funds and made personal contributions for the Connecticut National Guard's Operation ELF's (Embracing Lonely Families) holiday drive. This year, CFDA will expand its holiday effort to also collect toys for Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

Starting today through Wednesday, December 5th, 42 funeral homes across Connecticut will welcome donations of unwrapped toys and gift cards from the public. In addition, on Thursday, December 6th from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., people can drop off these items to CFDA's 130th Annual Convention at the Red Lion Hotel (formally the Radisson Cromwell Hotel) at 100 Berlin Rd. (Rt. 372) in Cromwell.

"This is the third year that Connecticut funeral homes have invited the public to bring in donations of gift cards and toys," explains Edward J. Sheehy Jr., President of the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association. "By doing so, we are adding more than 40 convenient community sites to supplement Operation ELF's and Connecticut Children's Medical Center's own collection efforts. We encourage state residents to take a few minutes of their time 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 Connecticut Children's Medical Center before the holidays.

Operation ELF welcomes gift cards of any dollar value to grocery, department stores, home supply stores, gas stations, and pharmacies, as well as unwrapped toys for young people of any age. These items will be given to families of Connecticut National Guard soldiers and airmen who are deployed during the holidays and throughout the year.

Connecticut Children's Medical Center welcomes new and unwrapped toys that are appropriate for hospitalized infants, children, adolescents or teenagers and do not pose a safety hazard, such as those with sharp edges or small, removable or easily breakable parts. These toys will be distributed to patients around the holidays and at different times of the year.

Donations of gift cards and toys may be dropped off during regular business hours at any of the 42 funeral homes now through December 5thDownload complete information here (funeral homes are listed in alphabetical order of town/city)

The 130-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 Connecticut National Guard Facebook page.

Connecticut Childrenメs Medical Center is the only hospital in Connecticut dedicated exclusively to the care of children and is ranked by U.S. News & World Report and Women’s Choice as one of the best children’s hospitals in the nation. With a medical staff of more than 1,000, Connecticut Children’s provides comprehensive, compassionate health care in more than 30 pediatric specialties and subspecialties. Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is a not-for-profit organization, which 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 Office for Community Child Health is a national leader in community-based prevention and wellness programs. For more information, visit



"The Connecticut Funeral Directors Association collected close to $6,500 worth of gift cards, toys and cash this holiday season, and that is more than any other year we have been involved so far," explains John F. Cascio, Executive Director of the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association. "It is an honor for our association to support Operation ELF, assisting military families with a loved one in the deployment cycle who may suffer financial hardship as a result of the call to active duty."

Funeral directors and their suppliers carried hundreds of unwrapped toys and gift cards for Operation ELF into the CFDA's 129th Annual Convention at the Radisson Cromwell in December 2017. The association then brought all of the items to the Gov. William O'Neill State Armory in Hartford in time for the Connecticut National Guard Service Member & Family Support Center's annual holiday party.

12 Years of Supporting the CT National Guard Operation ELF

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

  • CFDA Executive Committee member Thomas J. Tierney;
  • 2018 President Edward J. Sheehy, Jr., CFSP, CPC, CCO;
  • Executive Committee member Melissa Melin-Miles;
  • 2017 President Robert L. Muccino Jr.;
  • Executive Director John F. Cascio;
  • Immediate Past President Howard K. Hill, CFSP, CPC, CCO; and
  • Executive Committee Member Jacqueline Teske.


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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