Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Opportunities to help during the holidays: homeless students, reading, blankets, shoeboxes for Palomas children

By Mike Cook

“In this festive season, Mr. Scrooge … will is keenly felt and abundance rejoices,” as Charles Dickens said in his 1843 novella “A Christmas Carol”.

There are so many opportunities to help those in need here in Las Cruces and throughout Doña Ana County and the border region during this holiday season. A financial donation of any amount is very welcome, as are our donations of other items and voluntary work.

The bulletin will provide information on additional organizations over the course of the holidays. If you missed the stories we posted about the Salvation Army, Toys for Tots of Doña Ana County, Coats for Kids of Las Cruces, and La Casa, Inc. about the domestic violence program, let us know and we can send this.

Here is information on five programs to help others during the holidays and all year round.

  • Operation Christmas Child needs shoebox donations for children around the world who are struggling with terrorism, poverty, famine and disease. It demands that it not contain any candy, toothpaste, liquids, or toys depicting war. You can visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ to learn how to pack a shoebox. You can also donate online or deliver your filled shoebox to Grace Covenant Church, 3111 N. Main St., which is this year’s drop-off point. Donations can be made between 4pm and 6pm Friday, November 19th; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, November 18 and 20; 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, November 21; and 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday, November 22nd. Contact Stephanie Muir at [email protected]
  • Las Cruces Public Schools’ Project Link Homeless Education Project Link looks after around 600 temporarily or permanently homeless students and families every school year. Donations of blankets and new winter coats for teenagers and teenagers in sizes S, M, L, XL and XXL are needed; Sizes 5t-16 for boys and girls; warm clothing, warm-ups with long sleeves, hats, gloves, socks and underwear in all sizes for boys and girls; Diapers, sizes 1-4; Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, lotion, toothpaste, women’s products, laundry soap, wipes, bath towels, washcloths and snack bags. You can deliver items to the Project Link office at Valley View Elementary School, 915 E. California St. Contact Ray Banegas at 575-527-6688 and [email protected]; Contact Cecilia Montoya, Carla Solis Holguin, Margarita Solis, and Juliette Paez-Pearcy at 575-527-5858.
  • Children’s reading alliance (CRA) is a volunteer organization that engages local families and communities in child literacy through its Raising Readers Together programs: First Teacher / Primer Maestro; Reading Buddy Volunteers; and Summer Books, which sells 10,000 high quality children’s books for children to read all summer long. Donate at www.childrensreadingalliance.org. You can also add CRA to your Amazon Smile account. And you can donate new and carefully used books for children from birth to 8 years (no religious books). Contact Jennifer Alvarado at 575-522-3713 or [email protected]
  • Linus projectneeds new, washable, handmade quilts, afghans and fleece blankets to distribute to sick, traumatized or otherwise needy children on site. It welcomes donations of blanket-making materials, postage stamps, cash, and gift cards to Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts. Make fabric, thread, and other donations at Sew What’s New, 3961 E. Lohman Ave. No. 9; Be Sew Creative (formerly Bernina Sewing and Design Center), 1601 E. Lohman Ave .; Jo-Ann Fabrics, 1711 E. University Ave .; and Threadbear Fabric Store, 2204B S. Main St. Mail donations to Susan Stoltzfus, PO Box 116, Mesilla Park, NM 88047. Contact Stoltzfus at 575-526-3695 and [email protected] Visit www.projectlinus.org and on Facebook.
  • 10. annually Christmas shoebox project for children in Palomas, Mexico. Churches and other groups in southern New Mexico work with staff from the New Mexico Department of Health to collect shoeboxes of gifts for children, coats and blankets and bring them to Palomas each December. Shoebox items can include toy cars, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, kazoos, yoyos, etch-a-sketches, skipping ropes, slinkies, simple baby toys (not toys with batteries, toy guns or knives); School supplies (pencils, pens, blunt scissors, pencil sharpeners, stamp / ink pad sets, solar calculators, coloring books, stories in Spanish); Toiletries (soap, combs, toothpaste, toothbrushes, lotion, washcloths, etc.); also: socks, underwear, warm hats, mittens / gloves, T-shirts, hair clips, toy jewelry and inexpensive watches. You can also add candies and lollipops; put them in a separate plastic bag. For each shoebox (or small plastic container), choose a boy or girl aged 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14 years old. Stick an identification label on the top of the box. When you package the box, wrap the lid separately so that the box can be inspected at the US-Mexico border. You can add a note in Spanish in each field. Bring filled boxes and / or loose items to the mailbox near the entrance to the New Mexico Public Health Office at 1170 N. Solano Drive by Friday, December 17, 5:00 p.m. Contact Angie Sanchez Corral, 575-528-5123, angie. [email protected]

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