There are elves at work in New Milford this holiday season.

As busy as they are, they're looking for volunteers to lend a hand.

The Santa Fund, for many years under Nancy Camp's leadership, is continuing its tradition of providing clothing and gifts for children and families in need.

The town's Social Services Department provides the ages and sizes of those needing presents, and Camp and her team collect donations of clothing and gifts based on those specifications.

Those donating are asked to spend no more than $50, although more is welcome, said Peg Molina, social services director.

More than 450 New Milford children are registered so far.

"The gift will be something specific the child or family has suggested. It's also a new set of clothing," Molina said. "Parents are very appreciative. It's a wonderful way to support those in need."

"It's awesome how Nancy has been coordinating for all these years," she added. "She has a group of elves from the First Congregational Church, so at Social Services, we don't know who is buying for any given household. It's all anonymous."

Camp has been involved with the Santa Fund for nearly 30 years. She and Jan Whitman took over coordinating the program from Leslie (Rose) Warren, who in turn had taken the reins from Ethel Prince, she said.

"When we were kids we didn't have a lot," Camp said of her own childhood. "Ethel Prince, who started gift giving in the town -- well, I have a feeling she did a lot for us."

"Now, we have so much and it's nice to help people who are having a hard time," Camp added. "I have people who call and say to me `You helped me out a few years ago and now I can give back.' I meet a lot of nice people doing this."

Maryann Stewart, Carol Staib and Nancy Nichols are just three of the Santa Fund elves who have been helping for some 20 years.

"I can't say enough about Nancy (Camp)," Stewart said. "She's very caring and the Santa Fund is a part of her life. She's just a wonderful person."

To donate to the Santa Fund, call Nancy Camp at 860-354-3286 or email nthowless@yahoo.com to receive a child's size and gift wish.

Donations may be dropped off at the Richmond Citizen Center at 40 Main Street, on the second floor.

Gifts will be distributed to families Dec. 18.