AREA — The Connecticut Funeral Directors Association is conducting its 14th annual holiday drive to collect gift cards and toys for military families and for children and teens in the hospital.

Six Voices-area funeral homes are among 54 in the state that are welcoming donations from the public for Connecticut National Guard’s Operation ELF (Embracing Lonely Families) program and for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

“As funeral directors and suppliers of the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association, we have held our own charitable holiday collection efforts for more than a decade, and this is the fourth year that we also invite the public to bring donations of gift cards and unwrapped toys to local funeral homes,” said CFDA President Edward J. Sheehy, Jr.

“We encourage state residents to take a few minutes and come donate an item that will mean so much to another Connecticut family.”

All gift cards, toys and funds collected will be delivered directly to Operation ELF and to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center before the holidays:

Operation ELF will give these items to families of the Connecticut National Guard and all branches of the military with a loved one in the deployment cycle, that suffers financial hardship as a result of the call to active duty.

Operation ELF welcomes gift cards of any dollar value for grocery or department stores, home supply stores, gas stations and pharmacies, as well as unwrapped new toys for young people of any age.

Connecticut Children’s Medical Center toys and gift cards will be presented to young patients during the holidays and at different times of the year.

Unwrapped toys should be appropriate for hospitalized infants, children, adolescents or teenagers and should not pose a safety hazard, such as those with sharp edges or small, removable or easily breakable parts.

Hospitalized teens will receive gift cards.

Donations of gift cards and unwrapped toys can be dropped off during regular business hours through December 4 at Alderson-Ford Funeral Home, 201 Meadow St., Naugatuck; Honan Funeral Home, 58 Main St., Newtown; Ralph E. Hull Funeral Home, 161 West Church St., Seymour; Carpino Funeral Home, 750 Main St. South, Southbury; Munson-Lovetere Funeral Home, 235 Main St. North, Southbury and Munson-Lovetere Funeral Home, 2 School St., Woodbury.

Those seeking additional information may call 860-721-0234 or 800-919-2332 or visit www.ctfda.org.

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