PLATTSBURGH — The night before the Clinton County Christmas Bureau kicked off for the season, veteran volunteer Tina Leclerc was ready to go.
“I can’t wait each year to get started,” she said Monday evening. “I’ll be busy every day for the next month, but it’s only a month, and it’s really so much fun.”
Leclerc, who always works behind the scenes for the agency that makes Christmas happen for many, many needy families and senior citizens, has charge of distribution center, located again this year in the former Checkerhill Farms building on Boynton Avenue.
They call her “head elf,” according to Tammy Perrotte Sears, who co-directs the Christmas Bureau with Alice Heckard.
It is Leclerc’s job to organize the center, make sure orders are filled and keep track of when they need to be ready, to name just a few responsibilities. She has volunteered with the agency for about 15 years.
“It really takes a lot to make this happen, but we have volunteers that have been doing this for many years,” she said. “They all really know what needs to be done, and they just take over when we start setting up.
“After all these years, it’s just routine.”
And, Leclerc said, the volunteers have jobs now that they are good at, which makes things run smoothly. A smooth operation allows the them to focus on what they love most about pitching in — helping low-income families have a wonderful Christmas.
The Christmas Bureau “elves” have spent the past few days getting their space ready to start accepting toys for the 1,100 families they assist.
The storage unit has been cleaned out, brought to the temporary location, and this week it will be organized.
On Tuesday, Clinton County Jail inmates helped ready the distribution center.