BY MAIRE O’NEILL
With Thanksgiving over for this year, many people are realizing how much they have to be thankful and are beginning to think about those less fortunate in our Northern New Mexico region. This year’s fires have devastated many in communities very close to Los Alamos and there is of course existing, ongoing poverty in the region.
Many groups are working to make this time of the year better for everyone, but especially children. One of those groups is our own EXIT Realty Advantage NM in Los Alamos, which along with Los Alamos National Laboratory, the City of Santa Fe, Meow Wolf and others, is hoping to beat the $30,000 in unwrapped toys and monetary donations collected in 2021.
This year, they’re hoping to serve more than 2,500 kids through organizations:
- Casa Familia Homeless Women’s and Children’s Shelter
- Children in San Miguel and Mora County affected by the wildfires
- Consuelo’s Place Shelter at Midtown
- Santa Fe Indigenous Center
- Santo Domingo Social Services
- Children Youth and Families Department in both 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 in the Kha’p’o Community School
- Barrios Unidos
- Las Cumbres
- St. Elizabeth’s Homeless Teen Shelter
- 100% San Miguel
- Portfolio Resident Services
This will be the third year EXIT Realty Advantage NM has run the toy drive. It was previously coordinated for 13 years by Santa Fe Fire Department, but when the COVID pandemic began to overwhelm SFFD in 2020, EXIT stepped up.
Those who benefit from the toy drive are children that are part of vulnerable populations, according to Lance Eaton, who is vice president of Northern New Mexico Toy Drive.
“This toy drive often represents the only time during the year that a child receives a new toy that is picked out specifically for them. The drive provides hope that someone is paying attention and cares,” Eaton said.
There are several ways to donate to Northern New Mexico Toy Drive:
*Shop from the website where you can pick items from the wish lists.
*You can make a monetary donation. Checks, made out to The Northern New Mexico Toy Drive, can be mailed to EXIT Realty 1615 Central Ave, Ste 100, Los Alamos, NM 87544.
*Toys can be dropped off at the following locations through Dec. 9:
- EXIT Realty Advantage NM, 1615 Central Ave., Los Alamos
- Los Alamos Fire Department Station 4, across from the Los Alamos County Golf Course
- LAFD Station 6, across from East Gate Park
- LAFD Station 3 in White Rock
- Zia Credit Union
- New Mexico Bank and TrustCentury Bank
*Toys and monetary donations can be dropped off at EXIT Realty in Los Alamos through Dec. 23.
In addition, the community is invited to a special toy drive event, the annual Ugly Sweater Party, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday, Dec. 9 at Bathtub Row Brewing Co-Op in Los Alamos, where there will be live music, prizes for the best ugly sweaters, a silent auction and a food truck. Admission will be a new, unwrapped toy o a suggested donation of $10.
For more information, go to http://www.exittoydrive.com