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Carolyn’s Elves Helps Local Residents in Need with Charitable Events Throughout the Year

Carolyn’s Elves Helps Local Residents in Need with Charitable Events Throughout the Year

The Orangeburg Volunteer Fire Department and members of Carolyn’s Elves want to see a world in which every child has supplies for their first day of school and is able to open a present on Christmas morning.

Perhaps the best explanation for the existence of Carolyn's Elves comes from Brian Byrne, Carolyn’s father: “Making children happy and keeping Christmas magical is what she was best at.” 

In 2006, Brian and his wife Anne continued a long tradition in the Orangeburg Volunteer Fire Department when they began playing Santa and Mrs. Claus for the OVFD. With the help of their daughters, Carolyn and Christine and their niece Meghan dressed as elves, they traveled aboard fire trucks along the streets of Orangeburg greeting children of all ages along the route. In 2010, the tradition expanded to an evening holiday parade including decorated trucks from neighboring fire departments and businesses, complete with flashing emergency lights, and ending with refreshments and a visit with Santa at the firehouse.

Sadly, Carolyn was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Leukemia in 2016 and although the OFVD did everything they could to support their special elf, Carolyn couldn’t attend the 2016 and 2017 parades. FaceTime visits were arranged so Carolyn could talk with the children “from the North Pole,” while she was actually at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC. She was a bigger hit than Santa, and kids lined up to talk to her.

When Carolyn lost her battle with cancer in February 2018, the OVFD announced to her devoted followers that although Elf Carolyn was permanently called back to help at the North Pole, an Annual Toy Collection would be held in her honor. Every child who donated a gift to less fortunate children would receive a sticker indicating they were now one of “Carolyn’s Elves.” And that is how and why the nonprofit was born. Though her physical presence is no longer with us, her desire to make every child enjoy the magic of Christmas is still very much alive and a driving force for the volunteer firefighters. Carolyn’s Elves are all those who carry on her spirit and memory by showing generosity and giving to those less fortunate.

How You Can Get Involved with Carolyn’s Elves 

“Anyone who donates or supports the OVFD and Carolyn’s Elves' efforts becomes an Official Member and receives either a pin or a certificate,” Brian explains. He added that Carolyn’s Elves does not look for nor does it accept monetary donations. “What we want to see are people supporting our efforts to help local people in need. Any money spent in this effort comes from those who see the need and take care of it directly or by the continuous support of The Orangeburg Fire Association.”

Some of the ever-expanding charitable events held by the OVFD and Carolyn’s Elves are:

  • Fall book bag/backpack drive for school bags and school supplies for children in need in Rockland County
  • Winter Coat Drive in partnership with the Salvation Army
  • Holiday Toy Drive to collect new/unwrapped toys to be donated to South Orangetown Central School District’s Family Resource Center, the Nyack Valley Cottage School District’s Family Resource Center, and the Center for Safety & Change
  • Magical Mailboxes that appear in front of the Firehouse at certain times during the holiday season. Children who send a letter to Santa receive a letter from the North Pole and a certificate that they were on the Nice List this year.

Carolyn’s Elves is constantly adding new events and charity drives to their efforts. To learn more about these events and view photos of past events, visit To reach the Elves directly, email [email protected] or call the Elf Hotline at 845-721-4267 and ask for Elf #2!

As Santa says, “None of our efforts would mean as much or be as effective without the direct support and encouragement of the Orangeburg Fire Association and their love for an Elf named Carolyn.”

Main image courtesy Carolyn's Elves

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Kate O'Sullivan

Author: Kate O’Sullivan is an editor for For the past 24 years, she has taught ELA to special education middle-school students and for the past 15 years she has been planning fun after-school and weekend activities for her three children in and around Pearl River. What better way to combine her two passions than researching and writing about fun, local events?! See More

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