North Elba Christmas Fund gears up to help community

Brenna Garrett wraps gifts for the North Elba Community Christmas Fund in December 2019. (Enterprise photo — Elizabeth Izzo)

LAKE PLACID — With social media platforms launched, a board of directors chosen, and a website, Venmo account and tax-exempt status on the way, the North Elba Community Christmas Fund is reenergized to help serve hundreds of families in need this holiday season.

Zach Clark and his sister Cora Clark are co-organizing the program for the third time this year. They are being joined by local business owner Jessie Seguin, who is adding a tech component to this annual food, clothing and toy drive.

“What finally got to us was with Jess and her energy,” Zach said. “I’m old school. I mail letters still, even though there’s this email thing and internet and all that great stuff.”

Social media platforms for the North Elba Christmas Fund have been set up on Facebook and Instagram. A Venmo account is expected to be launched by this weekend to take donations. Venmo — venmo.com — is a digital wallet.

“Just to get us up to the 21st century,” Zach said. “People like to Venmo. It’s instant. Push a button, bang, the money’s sent. So whatever way we can make it easier for people to support our organization is fantastic. And Jess has the ability and knowledge and energy to help us out with that.”

Other items in the works include setting up a website and filing tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

“We’re just trying to keep up with the times, which is tough for an old guy like me,” Zach said.

A board of directors was recently chosen from past volunteers, and the fund’s mission statement was uploaded to the Facebook page.

The distribution sites are new this year. The High Peaks Resort will host the toy, gift and clothing distribution from Dec. 14 to 16, and the Crowne Plaza will host the holiday food box distribution on Dec. 18.

Toy collection boxes are located at Kinney Drugs, Walgreens and the Champlain National Bank in Lake Placid. The gifting trees with tags will be set up at the Palace Theatre and Lake Placid Health and Medical Fitness Center.

Fundraisers are being set up. For example, there will be a Buddy the Elf’s Toy Drive Fundraiser from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Pure Placid, 6006 Sentinel Road, Lake Placid. It will feature drinks, appetizers and fundraising for local families. And there will be a Maker’s Market fundraiser from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11 in the Alpine Mall on Main Street.

Checks may be sent to the North Elba Community Christmas Fund, c/o Cora or Zach Clark, 2693 Main St., Lake Placid, NY 12946.

And the fund will be accepting toiletries and other items this year, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, face masks, kids’ socks and underwear to be handed out at the High Peaks Resort.

“Anything that will help out that we can put on a general table,” Zach said.

The organizers can’t reach out to every person or business in town to see if they’d like to help, so they’re asking the community to reach out to them.

“It’s really important that businesses know that they should advocate for themselves to be involved in this organization if they’d like to help,” Seguin said. “If they want to be involved, they can be involved. There will not be a ‘no’ given to any donation of any kind.”

For more information or to volunteer, email thenorthelbachristmasfund@gmail.com or contact Zach Clark at 518-524-6552 or emmadelyn6@yahoo.com; Cora Clark at 518-524-6180 or emmarjco@roadrunner.com; or Jessie Seguin at 518-260-5782.

Last year, the North Elba Community Christmas Fund delivered just under 200 holiday food boxes and about 150 gift bags for kids and families.

“It will be a huge undertaking again this year,” Zach said. “The need never ends, unfortunately, but this town always rises to the occasion.”


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