New Mexico

Northern NM Toy Drive gears up for the holidays

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means many of us are already singing Christmas carols.

It’s the loveliest time of the year, but for some it can be stressful and the need to spread a little holiday cheer is growing.

That’s the destination behind the massive Northern New Mexico Toy Drive, which is already underway.

Every year the organizers in Santa Fe hold the toy drive and want to help even more children this year.

Donation boxes are open, wish lists are filling up and there are a few events this weekend to get you in the fundraising mood.

“This is always a stressful time for many families when they don’t have the money,” said Santa Fe Fire Chief Brian Moya.

As long as there is something that makes this holiday special for everyone.

“I know it might look like it’s just a toy, but we’re working with a very vulnerable segment of the population,” said Lance Eaton of Exit Realty. “Often that toy is the only toy that child gets throughout the year, and it really lets them know that someone is listening and genuinely cares.”

Eaton said they are working hard to make this year’s toy ride bigger and better than ever by teaming up with partners like the City of Santa Fe, Los Alamos National Labs and Meow Wolf.

“We give that little smile,” Moya said. “We give someone the opportunity to take the stress out of saying, ‘I couldn’t afford to get my kids anything this Christmas’ by giving back. Our boys only appreciate us when we’re going through the worst of times and sometimes we can give it to them at the best of times.”

This year they hope to help more than 2,500 children in more than a dozen organizations:

  • Casa Familia homeless women and children shelter
  • Children in San Miguel and Mora County affected by the wildfires
  • Consuelo’s Place Shelter in Midtown
  • Santa Fe Indigenous Center
  • Social Services of Santo Domingo
  • Department of Children, Youth and Families in Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico
  • Presbyterian Family Health
  • Villa Therese Clinic
  • Jemez Pueblo Social Services
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters in northern New Mexico
  • Family Strengths Network Grandparents Group
  • Facial program at Kha’p’o Community School
  • Barrios Unidos
  • Las Cumbres
  • St. Elizabeth’s homeless shelter for young people
  • 100% San Miguel
  • Portfolio Resident Services

“This year, specifically because of the fires in northern New Mexico, we’ve added San Miguel and Mora counties to this toy drive to reach and hopefully help those directly affected,” Eaton said.

With 30 drop boxes in northern New Mexico, they hope to bring more New Mexicans together.

“We’re trying to get them out two weeks before Christmas so parents have them ready to give to their kids,” Moya said.

It doesn’t take much to make a really big impact.

“Just being able to give that back to someone and knowing that that one person could have a better Christmas just by giving them something like a stuffed animal or Legos, something we had in the office, I think is great. People don’t realize how important those little things can be to someone,” Moya said.

You do not have to be physically in northern New Mexico to donate. You can shop on Amazon and get those gifts to the right people.

Organizers kick off the Thanksgiving weekend holiday with a variety of events:

  • Nov 25, 3 p.m Tree Lighting Event at Santa Fe Plaza with Mrs. and Mr. Claus. Participants are encouraged to bring a gift for “Fill The Fire Truck” at the site.
  • November 26, 1-3 p.m Tree Lights at Devargas Mall in Santa Fe featuring refreshments, carols and tree lighting. Santa Claus will also be there with gifts.
  • December 9, 7-10 p.m Ugly Sweater Party on Bathtub Row in Los Alamos. The entrance fee will be a toy.

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