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In Dallas, home makeover elves work all year long to bring a happy holiday to homeless families and children transitioning out of shelters. Project Elf is a team of design and project management professionals who volunteer their time and talents to change lives and bring the Christmas spirit to those in need by surprising them with quality home furnishings in their new apartments and homes.

Partnered with homeless advocacy groups, design firms and corporate sponsors, the members of Project Elf provide necessities and furnishings that make a house a home, giving the families something to be proud of.

“The families we select have all worked hard, taking an active role in changing their lives. We provide them a whole house makeover,” says Rachel Petschel Goniwiecha, one of the founding elves.

Like Santa’s elves, the busiest time of the year is in December, but the work begins a year before with planning, preparation, fund raising and selecting the family that will be the beneficiary. The fund-raising kickoff is the Christmas in July Happy Hour, where potential donors and supporters can learn more about Project Elf. This year the event will be held Friday, July 22 from 5 to 8 p.m., at the Daniel Padilla gallery in LuminArté Fine Art Gallery.

At this social event, attendees will learn more about the hard work the Project Elf team completes year round—collecting furniture and décor, obtaining toys—and about the installations—hanging curtains, setting up beds, filling closets, filling cupboards and stuffing stockings, all of which is made possible by donations and community support. During the evening, a one-of-a-kind original Daniel Padilla painting will be raffled off.

One hundred percent of the funds raised at these events goes directly to the makeover event. Everyone involved with Project Elf volunteers their time.

Goniwiecha explains, “Our goal is that the makeover will allow the families a chance to concentrate on maintaining the forward progress in their lives and jobs that were started in the transition programs without having to worry about how they will be able to afford to keep their new housing while also trying to make it a home for their family.” projectelfdallas.org

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