At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir…. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?
▪ Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol” (Dec. 19, 1843)
Here are some ways to help the less fortunate in Doña Ana County this holiday season.
• U.S. Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots of Las Cruces collects new, unwrapped toys for boys and girls ages birth to 16 in donation boxes located countywide after Nov. 1; visit http://las-cruces-nm.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/donate-toys.aspx for locations. Contact Toys for Tots at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find them on Facebook, and visit www.toysfortots.org/donate/Default.aspx: select Las Cruces in the drop box. 2017 events: Saturday, Nov. 11: 5K run sponsored by the NMSU Kinesiology Club; Sunday, Dec. 3: bicycle run; visit the website for details. Toys for Tots hopes to provide toys to 5,000 needy children in Doña Ana County in 2017. Coordinated by Peggy Petrowsky and the El Perro Diablo Marine Corps League Det #478 of Las Cruces through Las Cruces, Gadsden and Hatch school districts.
• The 23rd annual US Bank Las Cruces Coats for Kids needs new or gently used coats for children ages birth to fifth grade; drop off at US Bank, 277 E. Amador Ave.; Comet Cleaners, 2001 E. Lohman Ave. (Arroyo Plaza), 2497 N. Main St. (across from Albertsons) and 555 Utah St., Suite A (Utah at El Paseo Road); 101 Gold Radio, 101 Perkins Drive (Med Park). Other partners are Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico and D2Design. Coat sizing and sorting done by Doña Ana Head Start social workers. Send cash donations to Coats for Kids, c/o US Bank, 277 E. Amador Ave., Las Cruces, N.M. 88001. Call Karen Bailey at 575-636-6706. Coats for Kids hopes to provide 4,000 coats to children selected by Las Cruces, Gadsden and Hatch school districts in 2017. It has provided nearly 48,000 coats in the past 22 years.
• The Salvation Army of Las Cruces/Doña Ana County needs donations of canned or pre-packaged food, frozen turkeys and toys. Deliver to 1590 California Ave. Call Dee Dee Varner at 527-524-1044. Send cash donations to The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 1423, Las Cruces, N.M. 88004. Emergency food provided to low-income families in need every Thursday, noon-3 p.m.; quality used clothing provided to low-income children and adults every Wednesday, 2-3 p.m.; ID and utility bill required to prove Doña Ana County residency. Volunteers needed for holiday bell ringing (apply at 1590 California Ave.) – individuals (dressed as Santa or not), as well as groups, including people who can sing and/or play a musical instrument, including choirs and families. 127th Kettle Kickoff is Friday, Nov. 17 at some locations, then Friday, Nov. 24 citywide; contact Lt. Michael Evans at 575-524-4713 or email@example.com. Christmas gifts needed for children in low-income families; call the XTREME Hardship Christmas for Kids program at 575-524-4713. Volunteers are needed to help do the most good to assist people in emergency situations. Thrift store at 220 E. Idaho Ave. seeks donations of new and gently used items. Drop them by or call 575-524-1590 to schedule pick up. Call 575-524-1950 to volunteer for other programs. Visit http://lascruces.salvationarmy.org/ and find them on Facebook
• La Casa, Inc. domestic violence shelter needs non-perishable food items, food baskets, coats, blankets, toys, gifts for children of all ages and adults, household items, furniture, gift cards in any amount, clothing, toiletries; you also can adopt a La Casa family to buy holiday gifts for. Take items to 800 S. Walnut St., Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Visit http://lacasainc.org. Mail cash donations to La Casa, Inc. P.O. Box 2463, Las Cruces, N.M. 88004. Donate online at www.lacasainc.org/donations. Volunteers also needed. Contact Gloria Reyna at 575-526-2819 or firstname.lastname@example.org. La Casa’s emergency shelter, open 24/7, houses up to 80 people. Opened in 1981, La Casa provided more than 22,000 days of care and many services to more than 2,000 people last year. 27th annual La Casa Holiday Bazaar: Friday, Dec. 1 (4:30-7:30 p.m.), Saturday, Dec. 2 (9 a.m.-5 p.m.), Sunday, Dec. 3 (10 a.m.-4 p.m.), Las Cruces Convention Center, 680 E. University Ave.; $6 admission. Contact Gloria at 575-526-2819 or email@example.com.
• City of Las Cruces Juvenile Citation Program needs donations of non-perishable food for its holiday food drive, along with durable household goods, cleaning products and paper products (paper towels, facial tissue, toilet paper, etc.) for local families. A collection box is at the program office, 890 Tornillo St. (open 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday). Contact Grace Telles at 575-541-2277 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Las Cruces Public Schools’ Project Link Homeless Education program needs blankets, winter coats (teenage male and female sizes S, M, L, XL, XXL; sizes 5t-16 for boys and girls), nonperishable food for families during schools’ winter break (Dec. 21-Jan. 6). Toys and donations can be dropped off at the Project Link office behind Booker T. Washington Elementary School, portable 109, 755 E. Chestnut Ave. Project Link serves about 750 temporarily or permanently homeless students and families. Contact Yoli Silva at 575-527-5913 or email@example.com or Jesus Herrera at 575-527-5868 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Children’s Reading Alliance of Las Cruces is a volunteer effort to engage families and the community in childhood literacy. Its goal is for all children to reach their full potential in school and life. It helps families develop literacy-rich homes through First Teacher/Primer Maestro classes; Reading Buddy volunteers mentor struggling beginning readers; Summer Book Buddies share thousands of quality children’s books to keep kids reading all summer. To donate, visit www.childrensreadingalliance.org. Also accepted are donations of new and very gently used books for children ages birth through eight years; no religious books please. For more information, call Maria Zuniga at 575-522-3713.
• Project ♥ Linus needs new, washable, handmade quilts, afghans or fleece blankets, which will be given to local children who are ill, traumatized or otherwise in need. Also needed are blanket-making materials, postage stamps, cash donations and gift cards to either Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts or Hobby Lobby to purchase supplies. Drop off fabric, yarn and other donations at Bernina Sewing and Design Center, 1601 E. Lohman Ave.; Sew What’s New, 3961 E. Lohman Ave., #9; and Guillen Fiber Arts, and Quillin Fiber Arts, 121 Wyatt Drive, #24. Contact Susan Stoltzfus at 575-526-3695 or email@example.com. Mail donations to Susan Stoltzfus, P.O. Box 116, Mesilla Park, N.M. 880047. Visit www.projectlinus.org.
• Operation Christmas Child 2017 needs donations for children worldwide whose families are struggling to survive due to terrorism, poverty, famine and disease. Items omitted this year are candy, toothpaste, liquids and toys that represent war. Sonoma Springs Covenant Church, 3940 Sonoma Springs Ave. (575-526-4907), is the new drop-off center. National collection week is Monday-Monday, Nov. 13 -20. Donations accepted at the church, 1-5 p.m. Nov. 13, 14, 16-17 and 19; 2-7 p.m. Nov. 15; 10 a.m.-noon, Nov. 18; 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Nov. 20. Contact Roxann Petzold at 575-649-7336 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ to donate online and to learn how to pack a shoebox.
• Las Cruces Dress the Child Program, now in its 31st year, sponsored by the Las Cruces Rio Grande Rotary Foundation, buys new clothes and shoes for needy children and hopes to serve 500 or more children (many of whom have never had new clothes or shoes before) in 2017 (2016: 487 children served, 2015: 466, 2014: 450, 2013: 532, 2012: 437, 2011: 432, 2010: 475, 1984: 15) from the Las Cruces and Gadsden school districts. Make donation checks payable to Cruces Rio Grande Rotary Foundation – Dress the Child, send to Las Cruces Rio Grande Rotary Foundation, ATTN: Brad Beasley, P.O. Box 550, Las Cruces, N.M. 88004. Contact Doug Boberg at 575-644-9469 or email@example.com. Dress the Child shopping dates (when the children get their new clothes) are 5 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 5 and 19 at Old Navy, 2200 E. Lohman Ave., and 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3 at Kohl’s, 2500 N. Triviz Drive.
• Mesilla Valley Community of Hope: Includes Jardin de los Niños Homeless Child Care, El Caldito Soup Kitchen, St. Luke’s Health Care Clinic, Casa de Peregrinos Emergency Food Bank; 999 W. Amador Ave, Las Cruces, N.M. 88005. Homeless residents of MVCH Tent City need donations of new or gently used coats, blankets, socks, gloves, tents, towels, shampoo, soap and other toiletry items. Cash donations are also welcome. Take donations to 999 W. Amador Ave. Mail donations to MVCH, P.O. Box 6875, Las Cruces, N.M. 88006. Contact Executive Director Nicole Martinez at 575-523-2219 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.mvcommunityofhope.org.
• The 12th annual Be a Santa to a Senior program will provide gifts for 500 lonely, needy senior citizens. Local non-profits provide participants’ names. Ornaments with first names and gift requests can be taken from the tree that goes up at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 18 at Mesilla Valley Mall, 700 S. Telshor Blvd. (Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will decorate the tree, sing carols and pass out candy canes.) Friday, Dec. 15 is the last day for gift tags; buy gifts and take them, unwrapped, with senior ornament attached, to the mall management office or to Home Instead Senior Care, 880 S. Telshor Blvd., Suite 200. (Church or civic groups needing multiple tags, contact Buffy at 575-522-7133.) Community wrapping party is 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8 at Home Instead. Cash donations accepted, along with blankets, scarfs, etc. (no food or plants). Youth groups willing to decorate gift bags, call Home Instead to arrange. Contact Buffy Johnson at 575-522-7133 or email@example.com. Send cash donations to Home Instead Senior Care, 880 S. Telshor Blvd., Suite 200, Las Cruces, N.M. 88011. Visit www.homeinstead.com/138/default.aspx and www.beasantatoasenior.com.
• Jardin de los Niños homeless child care needs non-perishable food, clothing, household items, new and used children’s items and toys, diapers (including pull-ups for older children), baby wipes, detergent, all hygiene products, a video camera. Jardin has an adopt-a-family program for the holidays (food, party supplies, gifts, etc.). See their wish list seeking donations of $10-$300 to put quality toys in classrooms. Volunteers needed to sort donations on Fridays. Call 575-522-2111, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Open 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday at MV Community of Hope, 999 W. Amador Ave., Suite E. Mail donations to 1300-G El Paseo, PMB #272, Las Cruces, N.M. 88001. Visit www.jardinlc.org. Shop and volunteer at Jardin de los Niños Ladies Boutique, 335 La Colonia Ave. (SW corner of Alameda and Main), donations of new and gently used items welcome. Jardin began serving children and families in 1995.
• Eighth annual Christmas Shoe Box Project for children in Palomas, Mexico: Churches and groups in southern NM and N.M. Dept. of Health employees take shoeboxes filled with gifts for children, coats and blankets to Palomas. Needed: toy cars, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, kazoos, yo-yos, etch-a-sketches, jump ropes, slinkies, pull toys for babies (no toys with batteries or toy guns); school supplies (pencils, pens, blunt scissors, pencil sharpeners, stamp and ink pad sets, solar calculators, coloring books); hygiene items (soap, combs, toothbrushes, toothpaste, lotion, washcloths); socks, underwear, mittens/gloves, warm hats, tee shirts, toy jewelry, inexpensive watches, hard candy and lollipops (put candy in plastic baggies), batteries. Take filled shoeboxes/items to NMDOH Office of Border Health, 1170 N. Solano Drive, by 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8. Contact Marjorie Powey at 1-575-894-6641 or 1-575-740-0421 and Angie Sanchez Corral at NMDOH in Las Cruces at 575-528-5123 or email@example.com.
• El Caldito Soup Kitchen needs packets of coffee creamer, salt, pepper and sugar; turkeys; pumpkin and pecan pies; sauerkraut; mustard and mayonnaise; thousand-island and ranch dressing; barbecue sauce; one-gallon and sandwich-size zip-lock bags; black markers; eight-ounce hot/cold cups; disposable gloves; hairnets; wide-mouth jars with lids; plastic grocery bags; aprons. Take items to El Caldito’s back door, 999 W. Amador Ave. (Mesilla Valley Community of Hope), Sunday-Friday, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-noon. Call 575-525-3831 (after hours: 575-644-8737 or 386-2429). Send donations to El Caldito, P.O. Box 2833, Las Cruces, N.M. 88004 or donate elcalditolc.org. Volunteers needed (email firstname.lastname@example.org) to prepare and serve food, wash dishes, clean, fundraise, do on-site work. Since opening in 1984, El Caldito has served more than two million meals; it serves more than 90,000 meals a year.
• Gospel Rescue Mission provides support and services for the homeless. The shelter never closes and accepts donations any time. Its greatest needs are winter coats and caps, blankets, socks and men’s and women’s underwear. Also seeking donations for its “$20 Challenge” to raise $200,000 by Sunday, Dec. 31 to support those in need. $20 contributions (and a challenge to others to donate $20) will help pay for a new building for women and children, a passenger van, bathroom renovations and sewer-line replacement. For Thanksgiving and Christmas Meals on Wheels, 150 volunteers are needed to cook, serve and delivery hot holiday meals to shut-ins around the county. Donations of turkeys, hams, green beans, corn, yams and traditional fixings are needed for both holidays. January-September 2017, the mission served more than 44,790 meals; provided 18,580 nights’ lodging to men, women and children; and gave new shoes and clothes to more than 650 children in the back-to-school program. The mission uses no tax money; services are free to clients and taxpayers. Take food and other donations to the mission at 1050 W. Amador Ave. any time. Donate online at www.lcgrm.org/how-to-help/donate/ or send donations to Las Cruces Gospel Rescue Mission, P.O. Box 386, Las Cruces, N.M. 88004. Donations of cash and checks can also be made at D2 Designs, 101 Perkins Drive, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Visit the Gospel Thrift Store, 1416 S. Solano Drive. Visit www.lcgrm.org and find them on Facebook. Call 575-523-7727 to volunteer or for pick-up of larger items. Email email@example.com.
• Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico needs donations to help low-income individuals and families become self-sufficient, including Individual Development Accounts (matched savings accounts that help people pursue higher education, homeownership; entrepreneurship), children’s savings accounts; and financial literacy classes that help families learn basic fiscal responsibility and ways to save. CAA also has screening/enrollment programs to connect people to Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Child and Adult Food Care Program, etc. Contact Marcus Crawford at 575-527-8799 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Mail/take donations to CAA, 3880 Foothills Road, Suite A, Las Cruces, N.M. 88011. Donate online at www.caasnm.org. CAA serves 22,000-plus people annually in southwest New Mexico.
• Local FOOD BANKS (visit www.nmfoodbanks.org) need food and cash donations:
• Casa de Peregrinos emergency food program: Donate online, call 575-523-5542 or take donations to 999 W. Amador Ave. (Mesilla Valley Community of Hope), Suite F. Visit http://casadeperegrinos.org/home/donations to see what’s needed most. Business and donation hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Food-assistance hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. Bring ID and recent proof of address for food assistance. Volunteers welcome. $50 provides 300 meals, $100 feeds an average family for a month. Visit casadeperegrinos.org. Casa de Peregrinos expects to distribute more than three million pounds of food in Doña Ana County in 2017 at the flagship pantry and 13 rural pantries. It also provides food at monthly mobile food pantries at five Las Cruces senior centers and the main and East Mesa campuses of Doña Ana Community College.
Roadrunner Food Bank: As the state’s largest hunger-relief organization, the food bank provides food to hundreds of partners across the state, including 12 partner agencies, 24 mobile food pantry locations, 10 schools and two senior sites based in Doña Ana County. The most efficient way to help is by making a financial contribution to help the food bank acquire and distribute food. Right now, Bank of America’s Charitable Foundation will donate $2 for every $1 donated, up to $1,000. Visit www.rrfb.org/giveameal to have your gift matched. To donate food items, call 505-349-8921 or email email@example.com. Roadrunner will put you in touch with a partner in the Las Cruces area to deliver food items to. Volunteers are needed for the SNAP Outreach program year-round. For general food bank inquiries and volunteer opportunities, contact Community Initiatives Manager Amanda Cuba at 575-323-5150 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit 505 S. Main St., Suite 149A from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. New Mexico ranks second among all states for childhood hunger. For food assistance, call 575-523-4390 or download the free app at www.rrfb.org/apple or www.rrfb.org/googleplay. If you need help with food, visit one of two special holiday mobile food pantries on Tuesday, Nov. 21. Distribution starts at 9:00 a.m. at Peace Lutheran Church, 1701 Missouri Ave., and Trinity Lutheran Church, 2900 Elks Drive. To volunteer at either location, email email@example.com. Food bank staff and volunteers can also help you apply for state SNAP (food stamp) benefits. Call toll-free 844-684-6268 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Roadrunner Food Bank began service in 1980 and feeds 70,000 people each week statewide.
• Aggie Cupboard is a free, private service that distributes nonperishable food to NMSU students, staff and faculty in need from the NMSU Las Cruces and Doña Ana Community College campuses; food is available by presenting a current NMSU ID. Fall hours are 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and 3-6 p.m. on Wednesdays, or by appointment by contacting email@example.com. Food donations can be dropped off 9:30 a.m-1 p.m. on Tuesdays and 1-3 p.m. on Thursdays at 906 Gregg St. on the NMSU campus, or e-mail to arrange for pickup. Items frequently needed: canned chicken and tuna, peanut butter, soup, canned fruit and vegetables, cereal, powdered/evaporated milk, cooking oil and toiletries. Contact Meg Long at 575-646-6854 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit http://aggiecupboard.nmsu.edu/ and on Facebook at Aggie Cupboard @ NMSU. Donate online at https://makeastatement.nmsu.edu/project/6947 and specify Las Cruces Aggie Cupboard.