Press Releases

Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz


Lt. Governor Bysiewicz, CT National Guard Launch Operation ELF to Help Military Families in Need

HARTFORD – Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz and the Connecticut National Guard Foundation today launched the 18th annual Operation ELF (Embracing Lonely Families) to help military families enduring the hardship of separation due to deployment and to help lessen the financial stresses these families face resulting from their call to active duty.

“Each year, Operation ELF provides the generous citizens of our great state an opportunity to show their support of our men and women in uniform and their families, especially those who are deployed during the holidays” Lt. Governor Bysiewicz said. “These donations will go a long way in supporting those whose commitment to our country has provided a priceless service. I thank the Connecticut National Guard for their work organizing this donation drive each and every year, and I encourage everyone to give what they can to help those who have given so much to our state and our country.”

Established in 2001, Operation ELF is designed to support all branches of military families whose loved ones are deployed, preparing to deploy within the next six months, or recently returned from deployment. Over 500 Connecticut National Guardsmen are currently in the deployment cycle, with approximately 280 Guardsmen currently serving overseas and another 140 preparing to deploy in support of operations around the world. 40 members of the 192nd Engineer Battalion, headquartered in Stratford, Conn., returned from Kuwait and Afghanistan in July and six members of the 256th Engineer Detachment, headquartered in East Lyme, Conn., returned from deployment in Romania in early October.

“The holidays are a time to be spent with family, friends, and loved ones,” Maj. Gen. Francis Evon, the Adjutant General, said. “However, some families will be missing a deployed service member this holiday season, and with that comes the added challenges of taking care of households and families back at home so a Guardsman can focus on his or her duty. This is our way of giving back, saying thank you to military families for their sacrifices that support or service members, and hopefully taking just a little bit of that holiday stress off their shoulders.”

Donations of gift cards for grocery and department/home goods stores, pharmacies, and gas stations help support military families throughout the year. In 2018, Operation ELF distributed nearly $4,500 in gift cards to military families in need. Additionally, Operation ELF is still in need of a caterer for the event on December 14.

Donations of fuel oil, snow removal, and home maintenance services are also needed. New, unwrapped toys for young people of all ages are welcome.

Adopt a Military Family

Within ELF is the Adopt-A-Family program. Its goal is to assist those families who are suffering extreme financial hardship as a result of their service member’s call to Active Duty, as well as help them meet their basic needs and have a fulfilling holiday season. Individuals or businesses may “adopt” a family from this category by funding or purchasing items of need identified by the family. The name of the family is never revealed to the adopting person or organization. Instead, a summary of the family’s demographics and wish list are provided. The applicant’s case worker ensures gifts are received in time for the holidays.

How to donate:

Donations may be dropped off at one of the following six drop-off locations between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.:

Army Aviation Support Facility
Bradley International Airport
85-300 Light Lane (Off of Route 75)
Windsor Locks, CT 06096

William A. O’Neill Armory
360 Broad Street
Hartford, CT 06105

Armed Forces Reserve Center
90 Wooster Heights Road
Danbury, CT 06702

Niantic Readiness Center
38 Smith Street
Niantic, CT 06357

New London Armory
249 Bayonet Street
New London, CT 06320

Bradley Air National Guard Base
100 Nicholson Road
East Granby, CT 06026

On Tuesday, December 10, 2019, the final day of the drop-off period, the William A. O’Neill Armory will host extended hours for drop-offs, staying open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Gift cards and financial contributions can be mailed at any time. For gift cards:

Connecticut National Guard
Office of Family Programs
360 Broad Street
Hartford, CT 06105


For financial donations (please make all checks payable to the Connecticut National Guard Foundation, Incorporated, and annotate “Operation ELF” in the memo line):

Connecticut National Guard Foundation, Inc.
360 Broad Street
Hartford, CT 06105

Please be sure to include your name, address and phone number so that an appropriate acknowledgement of your contribution can be sent.

The Connecticut National Guard Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c) (3) organization that was established in April of 2003 for the purpose of providing emergency financial assistance for Connecticut National Guard members and their families. All donations are fully tax-deductible. For more information, visit

For more information specific to Operation ELF, please call (800) 858-2677, or refer to the Operation ELF and the Connecticut National Guard Facebook pages at and


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Juliemar Ortiz 

Press Secretary

O: 860-524-7346

C: 860.278.6809