Festive photos of 18-month-old promote toy effort

A real-life “Elf on the Shelf” is helping secure toys for children from families in need at Christmas.

Eighteen-month-old Forest Schott, decked out in the red-and-white elf suit, is being featured in a daily photo on a gofundme fundraising page and other social media.

He is part of an effort to raise $500, to be matched by a local company, to provide $1,000 worth of donated toys divided between the Columbus Firemen’s Cheer Fund and the Salvation Army.

It all started last year, when the Schott family decided to entertain their friends and family with Forest in various funny Christmas scenarios posted on Facebook — among them, using a permanent marker to write “Forest Rules” on his father’s forehead and collapsing nose-first asleep into a pile of presents.

His mother, Megan (Hembree) Schott, a Cummins employee, said her personal favorite from last year was Forest holding a play chain saw, cutting down a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

“He looked like he just got busted, and we worded it that Mommy was upset, but Daddy was proud,” she said.

That’s because Forest’s father, Devin Schott, works for a Martinsville logging company.

Forest has been shown wrapped in toilet paper and playing every parent’s nightmare, the drums.

Innovative Contracting, 3700 W. County Road 700N, Taylorsville, is matching the first $500 that is donated to the effort this year.

Owned by Schott family friends Phillip and Angie Burton, the company and the Burtons have always supported the Cheer Fund and looked at this as a good opportunity, Phillip Burton said.

The company, which does commercial and residential pressure washing and commercial snow removal, is featured in one of Forest’s adventures. While riding a four-wheeler in his elf suit, Forest sees a muddy wall and is assured by his mom that Innovative Contracting can take care of it.

“That’s pretty funny,” Phillip Burton said.

The Schott family had originally posted on the gofundme page that toy donations would go to the Salvation Army Angel Tree, but after hearing of the shortage of toys for the Firemen’s Cheer Fund, decided to assist both.

Since the Firemen’s Cheer Fund deadline is Friday, the family is scrambling a bit to get the word out.

“We will try our absolute hardest not only to reach our goal by then, but exceed our goal,” Megan Schott said.

To help encourage donations, Forest, who loves dirt bikes and monster trucks, was photographed with a fire engine at Fire Station 1 on Sunday for one of the installments chronicling his elf adventures.

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If you want to help Forest Schott exceed his goal to help the Firemen’s Cheer Fund and the Salvation Army, visit the gofundme page at