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#DarkElfOnAShelf raises funds for N.L.'s Community Food Sharing Association

Hasan Hai, the #DarkElfOnAShelf, sits inches away from Mayor Danny Bren during Monday’s city council meeting.
Hasan Hai, the #DarkElfOnAShelf, sits inches away from Mayor Danny Bren during Monday’s city council meeting. - David Maher

Hasan Hai is known for his great beard, his appearance as a “merb’y,” and now as the Dark Elf on the Shelf, an effort to raise funds and awareness for the Community Food Sharing Association.

Hai, founder of Project Kindness, made an appearance at St. John’s city council as an elf, sitting inches away from Mayor Danny Breen as council concluded its business at Monday’s final council meeting of 2017.

Councillors, staff and gallery-goers couldn’t help but laugh as Hai sat stone-faced with elf ears and large, red holiday boots.

While Hai’s appearances as the elf are light-hearted, it’s a campaign to help those in need during the holiday season.

“There’s something about it — I don’t know what it is. It’s either the boots or the dead eyes that just connects with people in this way that they don’t even understand why it’s so funny,” said Hai.

“Food insecurity is a huge deal, particularly in Newfoundland. People are hungry year-round. There’s a season of giving that lasts about eight weeks. February 1st, people are hungry as well. In this fun, whimsical way I can tell a fun story, but at the end of the day, it’s not about me, it’s a means to get people to donate.”

Deputy Mayor Sheilagh O’Leary arranged Monday night’s visit to council, for a laugh but also to help raise funds and awareness. An online booking calendar is accessible for anyone to request that Hai make an appearance at a holiday party.

So far, Hai says he has raised an estimated $900 for the Community Food Sharing Association. He says he’s trying to stay away from taking cash himself, but rather encouraging people to make their donations directly.

“It’s easy for anyone to donate directly. It doesn’t pass through me in any way, shape or form,” said Hai.

“If you do the math, every $10 donation translates to $430 in buying power for the association.”

Anyone interested in booking Hai for an appearance can do so at the Project Kindness Facebook page or online at https://calendly.com/projectkindness/dark-elf-on-the-shelf-visit/12-18-2017

 

david.maher@thetelegram.com

Twitter: DavidMaherNL

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