Not even Covid-19 could stop Santa Claus, his elves and carolers. A socially distanced “Elf Tag” event was held on the evening of Sunday, December 13, for AHRC Nassau’s Amos Avenue and Pearl Street residences in Oceanside.
Organized by St. Anthony’s Church in Oceanside, “Elf Tag” is an annual event recognizing neighbors who might need some extra holiday cheer. This year with limited group gatherings and visits, AHRC Recruitment Manager Jim Stock along with the St. Anthony’s Elf Leaders proposed AHRC’s residences. Working together, AHRC residential administrators and Elf Taggers planned a joyful holiday surprise, including “elves” decorating the front lawns of the residences, gifts and caroling.
“It was important for me to recognize the staff, too, who are so often overlooked as essential workers,” said Jim. “Seeing their smiles and knowing they are valued is what the holidays are about! I can’t thank all of our hardworking DSPs throughout all of our programs enough for their dedication throughout these difficult times. I’m so happy to connect the Elf Tag event with the AHRC community.”
Around 6 p.m. on Sunday, a festive motorcade of cars arrived, with Santa Claus portrayed by Jim as well as elves and well-wishers, who sang and called out warm holiday wishes. Residents, family and staff stood outside for this joyful holiday surprise. To see the full story, visit the AHRC Blog.
Family members of the residents definitely felt the holiday cheer. Typically, Amos Avenue would have a big holiday party with karaoke, food and fun, but due to the pandemic could not this year. Elf Tag was an opportunity to celebrate in a safe and socially distanced way.
“The parents and siblings of the Amos are thrilled. As always, the staff make a wonderful home for our loved ones. We love seeing our guys so happy,” shared Amos Avenue parents and siblings in a joint statement. “We’re just missing (longtime resident) Peter, who has also been a part of this family for so long.”
In the spirit of the season, AHRC residents like Patrick O’Connor had a wonderful time. “Yes. I did! ” said Patrick. “When they came down the street and the presents that I got. . . I like the holidays.”
St. Anthony’s filled wish lists from each of the residents and also gave staff gift cards. Gifts were also accompanied by heart-felt cards from children in faith formation.
Event leaders Laura Conroy and Teri Mallozi were glad to be able to make the holiday season a little brighter. “It’s the best – and makes the whole season. We had so many cars this year, we stopped traffic. It can be scary to plan but it’s always worth it in the end!”