October 2015 Newsletter

16th Annual Project Elf kicking off this month


With the help of donors and volunteers like YOU this holiday season, The Christmas Box International aims to serve more than 3,000 children and teens through Project Elf, a program that provides Christmas morning to at-risk youth in the state. Businesses, schools, neighborhoods, church groups, families and individuals can help fill Santa’s sleigh by providing specific gifts for youth who might otherwise be overlooked.

“Without Project Elf, there is no other way many of these kids could celebrate the holidays,” said Assistant Director Sherri Engar. “Our motto is, ‘every child deserves a childhood,’ and without our generous community, these kids would not have that moment in their lives many of us may take for granted.”
This community program rallies supporters for a single week in December, where more than $230,000 worth of new in-kind donations are dropped off and sorted to be distributed throughout Utah to help children and teens in the state who have been victims of abuse, neglect or abandonment. Donations of new clothing, supplies, gift cards and monetary support will also be crucial items needed to keep our Christmas Box Resource Rooms stocked throughout the year to continue to serve this vulnerable population.
Project Elf was created more than 14 years ago and continues to grow, serving more families in Utah communities last year than any previous year. Each participating child will receive three requested gifts, a total estimated value of $90 per child.
The Christmas Box International is currently seeking donors to help make a holiday memory real for an at-risk Utah child or teen in need. Please contact us for specific gift requests and wish lists by October 31 to receive your giving list for a child prior to Thanksgiving. Donation drop-off is scheduled for December 7–8.
For more information, please contact Sherri Engar at sherri@thechristmasboxhouse.org or 801-747-2201.

New Christmas Box Book Nook program bolstersliteracy and therapy for at-risk youth

The Book Nook at the Salt Lake Christmas Box House has a collection of new books donated by community members. Each child or teen that comes to stay at our emergency children’s shelter chooses three new books as their very own, writing their name inside and taking the books to their long-term kinship or foster care placements.

Not only does this program help to promote literacy by offering exciting age- and reading-level appropriate material to both children and teens, but it also provides them with tools for coping with stress while promoting literacy. Additionally, a child's trip to the Book Nook to choose books allows the on-site recreation therapist to assess that child’s interests and coping skills, as well as establish a better relationship and build trust as she works with them individually.

Short stories from the Book Nook:

  • “Wait, you mean I’m keeping these?! I’ve never owned my own books before.” - from a 16-year-old boy
  • Our recreational therapist was having a hard time connecting to a two-year-old who was not especially verbal. When he first came in, he pulled everything off the shelf, in normal toddler fashion. Our therapist tried engaging him with a few different board books to no avail until she hit gold with a touch-and-feel kittens and puppies book. He dropped everything and beelined right to the book. “Goggie!”, he squealed with delight. “Goggie! Goggie!” They walked back to the house floor with three animal touch-and-feel books in tow, and on the way he held his puppy book close to his face, brushed his cheek against the soft fur, and gave his “Goggie” a kiss.
  • A teen girl who identifies as LGBT came to the Book Nook and clapped with excitement that there was a specific section titled LGBT Teen Fiction. “I never find books about people like me,” she said, as she quickly scooped two novels into her arms.

Thank You to our Christmas in July Partners!

With the help of local businesses and community groups, more than $6,500 was raised in July to support local children and youth who are victims of abuse, neglect or homelessness. Thank you to:

In addition to fundraisers held around the state, staff and volunteers came together to throw the very first Christmas In JulyBBQ party for the children staying at the Salt Lake Christmas Box House. Santa and Mrs. Claus stopped by to enjoy some ice-cold lemonade and even brought cookies and a bouncy castle for the children!


Registration for our premiere fundraiser, Let's Do Holiday Lunch, is now open.

What: Let's Do Holiday Lunch
Where: Ogden Eccles Conference Center, 2415 Washington Blvd., Ogden, UT 84401
When: Friday, Dec. 4, 2015
11 am to 2 pm
Cost: $35 for a seat or $350 for a table (10 seats)

Event Itinerary:
11:00 am
Social hour and silent auction
12:00 pm
1:00 pm
Guest Speakers, New York Times bestselling author Richard Paul Evans and a youth formerly served by the Ogden Christmas Box House

Event followed by a book signing.

Become a Sponsor:
Learn more about how to give back and promote your business by clicking here.

Event Contact:
Development Director Gina Barker at 801-747-2201 or

Community Spotlights

The Citi Village Run 5K was held in Roy on Saturday, July 11. The Ogden Christmas Box House (CBH) kids and staff had a great time and they all participated in the run. Several volunteers worked alongside the Citi team to make it a success. This is the third year that Citi has done this for the CBH and the money raised will serve older teens in foster care. Roughly $3,000 was raised at the event and Citi included an additional sponsorship of $5,000, making this their most successful year yet.

The Levolor Day of Service brought a team of 20 people from Levolor to visit the Ogden Christmas Box House on September 2nd for a service project. Their focus this year was on education, so most of their time was spent organizing and cleaning our classroom. Some of the other projects they worked on were prepping bedroom walls for paint, sorting and organizing clothing, sorting school supplies, many of which Levolor donated. This service day created a functional, organized space for staff to work with children, just in time for back-to-school.

In July, the Modern Woodmen of America purchased a shed to store and protect our bikes and scooters, which are used on the bike path. This donation created more space on the patio and grass areas for the children to be able to play, create chalk drawings and more. They also paid for a cement pad to be installed underneath it. Lifetime Products offered a very generous discount on the purchase price and provided delivery and installation at no charge. 


Kroger employees held a fundraiser in August and raised more than $2,000 with several small fundraisers such as lasagna day and even a dunk tank, putting the FUN in fundraiser.


ZAGG Inc. employees came to the Salt Lake Christmas Box House to spruce up the grounds and paint new murals all around the facility, including a brand new dragon mural near the dental offices. 


Chick-Fil-A donated more than $600 worth of delicious food for lunch and dinner to the Salt Lake Christmas Box House kids, Salt Lake County Youth Services Group Homes, and the JourneyUP Mentor Project.


The Monument Park LDS Young Single Adults members spent two consecutive days painting the Salt Lake Christmas Box House picnic tables.

The Cobble Creek LDS First Ward Young Women brought in the spooky spirit of Halloween to the Salt Lake Christmas Box House by decorating the main and north lobbies.