ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Thanksgiving is fast approaching, which means many of us are already singing Christmas tunes.
It’s the best time of year, but it can be stressful for some and the need to spread some holiday cheer only grows.
It’s the goal behind the massif Toy Drive in Northern New Mexico already underway.
Every year, Santa Fe organizers host the toy drive, and this year they’re looking to serve even more kids.
Donation boxes are open, wishlists are filling up, and there are a few events this weekend to get you in the spirit of giving.
“It’s always a stressful time for a lot of families if they don’t have the money,” Santa Fe Fire Chief Brian Moya said.
As long as there is something to make this holiday special for everyone.
“I know it may seem like a toy, but we are working with a very vulnerable part of the population,” said Lance Eaton with Leaving real estate. “A lot of times that toy may be the only toy that child gets over the course of the year and it really lets them know that someone is listening and someone really cares.”
Eaton said they are working hard to make this year’s toy drive bigger and better than ever, teaming up with partners including the City of Santa Fe, Los Alamos National Labs and Meow Wolf.
“We give that little smile,” Moya said. “We’re giving someone the opportunity to be relieved of the stress of saying, ‘I couldn’t afford to have anything to give my kids for Christmas this year’, by giving back. Our guys just like us when we’re going through the worst times, and sometimes we can give it to them at the best time.
This year, they hope to serve more than 2,500 children in more than a dozen organizations:
- Casa Familia Shelter for homeless women and children
- Children in San Miguel and Mora County affected by wildfires
- Consuelo’s Place Shelter in Midtown
- Santa Fe Native Center
- Santo Domingo Social Services
- 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 of Northern New Mexico
- Family Strengths Network Grandparents Group
- Face Program at Kha’p’o Community School
- Barrios Unidos
- The Cumbres
- St. Elizabeth Homeless Teen Shelter
- 100% San Miguel
- Portfolio Resident Services
“This year, especially with the fires in northern New Mexico, we have added San Miguel and Mora counties to this toy drive to reach out and hopefully help those directly affected,” said Eaton said.
With 30 drop boxes in northern New Mexico, they hope more New Mexicans will come together.
“We try to get them out two weeks before Christmas so parents can prepare them to give to their children,” Moya said.
It doesn’t take much to have a really big impact.
“Just being able to give that back to someone and knowing that person might have a better Christmas, just giving them like a stuffed animal, or Legos, something we had in the office, I think it’s “It’s great. People don’t realize how important those little things can be to someone,” Moya said.
You don’t have to be physically in northern New Mexico to donate. You can buy on Amazon and give these gifts to the right people.
Organizers kick off holidays on Thanksgiving weekend with various events:
- November 25, 3 p.m. Tree lighting event in Santa Fe Square with Mrs. and Mr. Claus. Attendees are encouraged to bring a “Fill the Fire Truck” gift to the plaza.
- Nov. 26, 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Donating tree lighting at Devargas Mall, Santa Fe with refreshments, singing and tree lighting. Father Christmas will also be present with gifts to offer.
- December 9, 7-10 p.m. Ugly Sweater Party at Bathtub Row in Los Alamos. The entrance fee will be a toy.