The Elf Louise Christmas Project began in 1969 when founder Louise Locker, a student at Trinity University, and her friends, collected toys for the children of 13 needy San Antonio families.

Almost 50 years later, the project is still going strong. Now a community-based, 100% volunteer organization, Elf Louise provides over 60,000 gifts to families each year. Thousands of volunteers gather to select and wrap gifts, dress as Santa and his elves, and deliver Christmas gifts to children who might otherwise go without.

Elf Louise is completely staffed by volunteers and completely funded by donations. 98 cents of every dollar goes directly to the purchase and delivery of toys. There is no paid staff. Volunteers staff every position, from data entry to gift wrapping, washing Santa suits, stocking toys in the warehouse, and finally breaking down the workshop and storing toys and supplies for the next season. While the bulk of the work takes place in November and December, core volunteers work almost year-round to make every Christmas special.

On a personal note, Elf Louise was one of my first volunteer experiences as a child. My Girl Scout troop went every year and I loved the fact that the present I was wrapping would go right into the hands of another kid. Choosing the presents was always my favorite part. Elf Louise is “based on hope and faith and a belief in the goodness of people.” This echoes Nerd Night’s mission and philosophy. Coming together as a group to make life a little brighter for San Antonio’s less fortunate reaffirms the holiday spirit in a way that crosses religious and cultural barriers. I hope you’ll join us at a November Nerd Night so we can support this unique San Antonio organization!