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Community of Hope begins Tents to Rents fundraiser: Jennifer’s story


Editor’s note: This is the third in a series about residents of the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope’s Camp Hope tent city and the 2023 Tents to Rents fundraising campaign, which began Aug. 14, as

Mesilla Valley Community of Hope (MVCH) raises funds to support Camp Hope, helping to move camp residents into their own apartments.

Jennifer served 10 years in the United States Army and Army Reserves. Her introduction to New Mexico came with her first duty post at White Sands Missile Range. She is proud of her service and many accomplishments, but also suffers from PTSD stemming from sexual assault while in the military, and from unhealthy relationships.

After her service, Jennifer returned to North Carolina, where she worked as a community mental health worker until she had to become a caregiver for her elderly mother. When her mother died and her three grown children no longer needed her, Jennifer decided to retire to New Mexico, where the warmth and dry air provide a healthier environment.

Jennifer arrived at Camp Hope last Labor Day, and immediately began volunteering, helping with the food bank and clothing donations, which she continues to do. Living in the tent camp was a challenge for a woman in her 60s, but Jennifer reminded herself that it was just like basic training in her Army days.

Her status as a military veteran qualified her for special preference in housing placement, and by early December she was moved into an apartment in the complex for veterans, where she is the only female resident. Jennifer is very happy to be there, where she feels accepted, not judged, and is giving back through volunteering at Mesilla Valley Community of Hope and serving on its board of directors. 

You can support Jennifer and her fellow vets at tentstorents.org.

Fun run

The New Mexico State University Office of Experiential Learning is sponsoring the Aggies Giving Back 5K Color Fun Run, 7-11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, at Pan American Center, 1810 E. University Ave.

Tents to Rents will receive 100 percent of the proceeds from the event.

The fundraising run and walk are open to all students, faculty, staff and alumni of NMSU, along with community members. Minors can also participate, with those under the age of 16 accompanied by an adult.

The entry fee is $20 per person or $85 for a group of five. The first 150 participants will receive a FK Color Fun Run tee shirt.

Colorful and creative dress for the run/walk, including tutus, hair accessories, socks and sunglasses, are encouraged.

“Runner/walkers will take a course through the beautiful NMSU campus with locations on the route where runners will get covered in color powder,” according to the event description. “There will be a finish line celebration with vendors, music and food.”

Visit https://happeningnext.com/event/aggies-giving-back-5k-color-fun-run-eid4so4kntvx81. Scroll down and click on “Find Tickets” to reserve a spot in the run or to make a donation.

Tents for Rents