SAN DIEGO, CA -- The founder of Bend-Based Operation Elf Box is on a cross-country bike trek to raise money for his non-profit. Josh Hart started in San Diego, California on February 28th. He spoke with KBND News from the side of the road, on Day 3 of his trip: "My hope is to share the mission and vision of Operation Elf Box. Over the last five years, we've been opening up these toy stores in Bend and the Willamette Valley, and we've seen over 8,000 children who have been shopped for. It's my hope we can open these all over the country."
Operation Elf Box "toy stores" invite parents to shop for Christmas gifts for their children for free. "The last five years, we've gathered 50,000 toys from individuals and companies who put toys in our bins - Companies like Cuppa Yo. And then, parents schedule appointments to shop," Hart says. "We've scheduled 2800 appointments, mostly with moms just trying to put Christmas together Christmas for their kids."
Hart expects his cross-country biking to take a couple of months, "I'm headed to St. Augustine, Florida and it says it's 3100 miles as long as I don't get lost and I don't take any detours. I imagine it's going to take 65-80 days, but I threw out the schedule before I made one." He says his first couple of days were tough on him and his companion, his dog "Shoeless Jo," as much of the route was uphill. He ended his Tuesday travel outside of Brawley, California, near the Mexican border.
To support Hart and follow his journey, click HERE.