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Helping those in need during the 2019 holidays

Ways to help those in need this holiday season in Las Cruces and Doña Ana County

  • U.S. Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots of Doña Ana Countycollects new, unwrapped toys for boys and girls ages birth to 18 in donation boxes countywide after Nov. 1. (Find box locations on Facebook at Las Cruces Toys for Tots.) It hopes to provide toys to 4,500+ needy children in 2019. Especially needed are soccer balls, basketballs and other toys for boys age 8 and older. Coordinated by Las Cruces Rotary Club and El Perro Diablo Marine Corps League Detachment #478 of Las Cruces, through Las Cruces, Gadsden and Hatch school districts. Contact Coordinator Patty Groth at 575-202-6185 or grothp@hotmail.com and Assistant Coordinator U.S. Marine (retired) Joe Montoya at 575-571-7728 or echo8mike@yahoo.com. Visit http://las-cruces-nm.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/donate-toys.aspx and find them on Facebook. The late Jack and Peggy Petrowsky started Toys for Tots in Las Cruces in 1998, providing toys to 65 children. The program provided about 10,000 toys and books to 4,315 children in 2018. It provides toys to all children in every family it serves.
  • 25th annual U.S. Bank Las Cruces Coats for Kids needs new/gently used coats for children up to fifth grade; drop off at 101 Gold, 101 Perkins Drive; Comet Cleaners, 2001 E. Lohman Ave., 2497 N. Main St. and 555 Utah Ave.; D2Designs, 101 Perkins Drive Ste. B; and U.S. Bank, 277 E. Amador Ave. and 3790 E. Lohman Ave. Send cash donations to Coats for Kids, c/o U.S. Bank, 277 E. Amador Ave., Las Cruces, NM 88001. Call Coordinator Karen Bailey at 575-636-6706. Coats for Kids hopes to provide 3,500 coats to children selected by Las Cruces, Gadsden and Hatch school districts in 2019. The 2019 drive continues all year. Coats for Kids has provided more than 52,000 coats to needy children in the past 24 years.
  • Salvation ArmyLas Cruces Corps needs canned/pre-packaged food, frozen turkeys, toys. Deliver to 1590 California Ave. or call Dee Dee Varner at 527-524-1044. Send donations to Salvation Army, P.O. Box 1423, Las Cruces, N.M. 88004. Emergency services for families in need: food: noon-3 p.m. Thursdays, used clothing/utilities/rent assistance (if available): 8-10 a.m. Wednesdays. ID and utility bill required to prove Doña Ana County residency. Volunteer for holiday bell ringing at 1590 E. California Ave. or call Capt. Noel Evans at 575-524-4713. Christmas gifts needed for low-income children; call the Angel Tree Program at 575-524-4713. Saturday, Nov. 23: Thanksgiving Basket Run with Las Cruces Cruising Council: setup 11 a.m., event at noon, Young Park, 1905 E. Nevada Ave.; each car entry must include at least one basket with all the fixings for a Thanksgiving dinner for a local family in need. Saturday, Dec. 7: Third annual Show and Shine Toy Drive with Las Cruces Cruising Council, 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m., old K-Mart parking lot, 1900 Bataan Memorial East; to be in the cruise: arrive by 10:30 a.m. and bring at least one boy and one girl gift valued at $10 or more each; gifts also accepted at Rudy’s Bar-B-Que, 1020 N. Telshor Blvd., Salvation Army main location and thrift store, 220 E. Idaho Ave. The Salvation Army also seeks donations of new and gently used items. Drop them by or call 575-524-1590 for pick up. To volunteer for other programs, call 575-524-4713. Visit http://lascruces.salvationarmy.org/ and find them on Facebook.
  • La Casa, Inc. domestic violence organization needs non-perishable food items, food baskets, coats, blankets, toys, gifts for children of all ages and adults, household items, furniture, gift cards (especially for teens) in any amount, clothing, toiletries; adopt a La Casa family to buy holiday gifts for. Take items to 800 S. Walnut St. in Las Cruces, or 325 First St. in Anthony, N.M., Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Send donations to La Casa, Inc., P.O. Box 2463, Las Cruces, NM 88004. Donate online at www.lacasainc.org/donations. Volunteers also needed. Contact Executive Director Henry Brutus at 575-526-2819 or contact@lacasainc.org. Visit www.lacasainc.org. La Casa’s emergency shelter, open 24/7, houses up to 85 people. Opened in 1981, La Casa provided more than 22,000 days of care and comprehensive services to more than 2,000 people last year. 29th annual La Casa Holiday Bazaar: Friday, Dec. 6 (4:30-7:30 p.m.), Saturday, Dec. 7 (9 a.m.-5 p.m.), Sunday, Dec. 8 (10 a.m.-4 p.m.), Las Cruces Convention Center, 680 E. University Ave.; unique handcrafted goods, art, jewelry, cookie cupboard, live music; $5 admission, free to under 12.
  • Las Cruces Public Schools’ Project Link Homeless Education serves about 600 temporarily or permanently homeless students and families each school year. It needs donations of blankets, new/gently used winter coats (teenage male, female sizes S, M, L, XL, XXL; sizes 5t-16 for boys, girls); warm clothing, warm ups with long sleeves, beanies, gloves, socks, underwear (all sizes: boys, girls, juniors); shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, toothpaste, feminine products, laundry soap, wipes; bath towels, washcloths. Take items to Project Link office at Valley View Elementary, 915 E. California St. Contact Yvette Enriquez at 575-527-5913 or yenriquez@lcps.net or Jesus Herrera at 575-527-5868 or jherrera@lcps.net.
  • Children’s Reading Alliance of Doña Ana County seeks donations of new/gently used books for children ages birth to 8 (no religious books please). Make cash donations at www.childrensreadingalliance.org. CRA is a volunteer organization that engages families and community in childhood literacy to help all children reach their full potential through Raising Readers Together; First Teacher/Primer Maestro classes for parents, which help families develop literacy-rich homes; Reading Buddy volunteers, who mentor struggling beginning readers; and Summer Book Buddies, which distributes 10,000 quality children's books to keep kids reading all summer. Contact Audrey Hartley at 575-522-3713 or ahartley@cralc.org.
  • Project ♥ Linusneeds new, washable, handmade quilts, afghans, fleece blankets to give to local children who are ill, traumatized or otherwise in need; blanket-making materials, postage stamps, cash donations, gift cards to Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts. Drop off fabric, yarn, other donations at Sew What’s New, 3961 E. Lohman Ave. #9; Be Sew Creative (formerly Bernina Sewing and Design Center), 1601 E. Lohman Ave.; Joann Fabrics, 1711 E. University Ave. Mail donations to Susan Stoltzfus, P.O. Box 116, Mesilla Park, NM 88047. Contact her at 575-526-3695 or sgstolt13@gmail.com. Visit www.projectlinus.org.
  • Operation Christmas Child 2019 needs donations for children worldwide whose families are struggling due to terrorism, poverty, famine, disease. No candy, toothpaste, liquids or toys that represent war. Sonoma Springs Covenant Church, 3940 Sonoma Springs Ave. (575-526-4907) is the drop-off center. National collection week is Monday-Monday, Nov. 18-25. Donations accepted in Las Cruces Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday, Nov. 18, 19, 21, 22, 24: 1-5 p.m.; Wednesday, Nov. 20: 2-7 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 23: 10 a.m.-noon; Monday, Nov. 25: 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Contact Wendy Travis at 575-635-1621 or ilovejafra@zianet.com. Visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ to donate online and to learn how to pack a shoebox.
  • 33rd annual Rio Grande Rotary Club’s Dress the Child Program buys new clothes and shoes for needy children, many of whom have never had them before. It hopes to serve 700 in 2019 (2018: 638 served, 1984 [first year]: 15). Participating children are chosen by Las Cruces and Gadsden school districts; each receives $130-$150 in new clothes and shoes. Send donation checks to LCRGRF Dress the Child, P.O. Box 550, Las Cruces, NM 88004 or take them to Julie Koenig at First New Mexico Bank at the corner of Lohman Avenue and Nacho Drive. Contact Doug Boberg at 575-644-9469 or dougboberg@comcast.net. Shopping dates (when children get their new clothes) will be in November, December at Old Navy and Kohl’s.
  • 14thannual Be a Santa to a Seniorprogram provides gifts for 500 lonely, needy senior citizens. Local nonprofits provide participants’ names. Ornaments with first names and gift requests may be taken from the tree going up at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 23 at Mesilla Valley Mall, 700 S. Telshor Blvd. (Girl Scouts will decorate the tree, sing carols, pass out candy canes.); last day for gift tags is Thurs., Dec. 12. Buy gifts and take them, unwrapped, with senior ornament attached to mall office or Home Instead Senior Care, 2470 Calle de Guadalupe in Mesilla. Cash donations accepted, along with blankets, scarfs, etc. (no food or plants). Church/civic groups needing multiple tags, contact Buffy Johnson at 575-522-7133 or buffy.johnson@homeinstead.com. Send donations to Home Instead Senior Care, P.O. Drawer G, Mesilla, NM 88046. Volunteers needed to wrap presents. Visit www.homeinstead.com and www.beasantatoasenior.com.
  • Mesilla Valley Community of Hope: People experiencing homelessness need new or gently used coats, blankets, socks, gloves, tents, towels, shampoo, soap, other toiletries. Cash donations welcome, mail to MVCH, P.O. Box 16526, Las Cruces, NM 88004. MVCH is located at 999 W. Amador Ave. Contact Nicole Martinez at 575-523-2219 or hope@zianet.com. Visit www.mvcommunityofhope.org. MVCH provided services to 2,606 people last fiscal year and provided housing to 547, including 187 in MVCH’s Camp Hope Tent City.
  • Tutti Bambini Children’s Store sells gently used children’s clothing, toys and more. Proceeds benefit local and border-community outreach programs for children challenged by poverty and special needs. Donations of items to sell and cash donations are welcome. Located at 300 El Molino Blvd., the nonprofit opened in 2013. Contact Sister Beth at 575-640-1997 or daddiosister@yahoo.com. Tutti Bambini on Facebook and at meetlascruces.com under shopping.
  • Jardin de Los Niños supports homeless/near homeless children and their families. Donations needed: non-perishable food, clothing, household items, new and used children’s items and toys, diapers (including pull-ups for older children), baby wipes, detergent, hygiene products. See their online wish list of quality classroom toys and materials. Jardin has a holiday Adopt-a-Family program. Volunteers welcome. Call 575-522-2111, email infor@jardinlc.org. Open 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Friday, Mesilla Valley Community of Hope campus, 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, volunteer at Jardin’s Ladies Boutique, 335 La Colonia Ave. (SW corner Alameda Avenue and Main Street); donations of new and gently used clothing, jewelry, household items welcome. Jardin has been serving children and families since 1995.
  • Gospel Rescue Mission provides support and services for the homeless. Greatest needs are winter coats and caps, blankets, socks, men’s and women’s underwear. For Thanksgiving and Christmas Meals on Wheels, 150 volunteers needed to cook, serve and deliver hot meals to shut-ins countywide. Donations of turkeys, hams, green beans, corn, yams, fixings needed for both holidays. GRM provides thousands of meals and overnight lodging to men, women, children; provides new shoes and clothes to hundreds of children for back to school. Take food, other donations to GRM, 1050 W. Amador Ave. Donate online at www.lcgrm.org/how-to-help/donate or mail donations to Las Cruces Gospel Rescue Mission, P.O. Box 386, Las Cruces, NM 88004. Visit GRM Thrift Store, 2100 Missouri Ave. Visit www.lcgrm.org and find GRM on Facebook. Call 575-523-7727 to volunteer or for pick-up of larger items. Email lcgrminc@gmail.com.
  • El Caldito Soup Kitchen needs salad dressings, mayonnaise, cooking sprays, salt, pepper, sugar and other spices, cheese; turkeys for Thanksgiving, hams for Christmas and all the trimmings for holiday meals, including pies and cakes; also, paper goods: cups, plates, napkins, utensils, to-go containers. Take items to El Caldito’s back door, 999 W. Amador Ave. (Mesilla Valley Community of Hope), 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sunday-Friday, 8 a.m.-noon Saturday. Contact Kitchen Administrator/Volunteer Coordinator Diane D’Ambrisio at 575-636-0423, 575-791-5381, elcalditosoupkitchen@gmail.com. Send donations to El Caldito, P.O. Box 2833, Las Cruces, NM 88004 or donate elcalditolc.org. Volunteers needed to prepare and serve food, wash dishes, clean, fundraise, do on-site work, pick up food donations. Since opening in 1984, El Caldito has served more than 2 million meals.
  • Ninth annual Christmas Shoe Box Project for children in Palomas, Mexico: Southern New Mexico churches and groups 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, yoyos, etch-a-sketches, jump ropes, slinkies, babies’ pull toys (no toys with batteries or toy guns/knives); school supplies (pencils, pens, blunt scissors, pencil sharpeners, stamp and ink pad sets, solar calculators, coloring books, stories in Spanish); hygiene items (soap, combs, toothbrushes, toothpaste, lotion, washcloths); socks, underwear, mittens/gloves, warm hats, tee shirts, barrettes, toy jewelry, inexpensive watches, hard candy, lollipops (put candy in plastic baggies). Use a shoebox or small plastic container, choose a boy or girl for each box, ages 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14. Tape an identifying label to the top of the box. The box can be wrapped but the lid must be wrapped separately for border inspection. Take filled boxes or loose items to NMDOH Office of Border Health, 1170 N. Solano Drive, by 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19. Contact Angie Sanchez Corral at 575-528-5123 or angie.sanchez@state.nm.us.
  • Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico, a trusted local organization for more than 50 years, is headquartered in Las Cruces and serves all of Doña Ana County and four other southwestern New Mexico counties, providing services that help so families facing adversities truly thrive, from Coats for Kids and youth entrepreneurship (Kids Can) to child nutrition programs to free tax preparation and small business development. Contact Mark Hohnstreiter at 575-527-8799 or markh@caasnm.org. Mail or bring donations to CAASNM, 3880 Foothills Road, Suite A, Las Cruces, N.M. 88011. Donate online at www.caasnm.org.
  • 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, Kleenex, toilet paper, etc.) for local families. A collection box is at the program office, 890 Tornillo St. (8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday). Contact Stephanie Giron, 575-541-2279 or sgiron@las-cruces.org or Eliann Santillan, 575-541-2259. esantillan@las-cruces.org.
  • CARE (Cancer Aid Resource & Education, Inc.) provides recently diagnosed, eligible Doña Ana County cancer patients with financial assistance for non-medical needs (so they can concentrate on treatment, recovery) like transportation, groceries/nutritional supplements, self-pay health insurance, utilities, rent/mortgage payments, phone and expenses if treatment requires out-of-county travel. Contact Yoli Diaz at 575-649-0598 or yoli@carelascruces.org. Donate at carelascruces.org or send donations to CARE, 118 S. Water St., Las Cruces, NM 88001.

Consider adopting a pet or donating to:

  • Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary needs unscented bleach, Alpo canned dog food, Friskies canned cat food, Fancy Feast, Milk Bones, Cesar wet dog food, clumping cat litter, pure baking soda, puppy training pads, rubber gloves, bottled water, toilet paper, paper towels, tall kitchen trash bags, scented laundry detergent, Clorox disinfecting wipes, bottled hand soap, Ziploc bags in all sizes, clear packing tape, scotch tape, zip and cable ties. Take donations to SHAS Thrift Store, 840 El Paseo Road, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Send donations to Safe Haven, 840-D El Paseo Road, Las Cruces, N.M. 88001, donate online at www.shaspets.com. Thrift store also needs volunteers. Sanctuary: 575-805-5338 or tricia@shaspets.com. Thrift store: 575-541-4942. No-kill, nonprofit SHAS opened in 1996.
  • ACTion Programs for Animals has a “A Home for the Holidays 50-percent adoption discount through Jan. 1, 2020. APA has rescued 4,300-plus animals since May 2012; its foodbank has distributed one million-plus pounds of food and supplies to nearly 3,000 local families. Open 11-4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays, and by appointment at 800 W. Picacho Ave., Las Cruces, NM 88005. Info: 575-644-0505, adoption center: 575-571-4654; e-mail: mail@apalascruces.org. Visit www.actionprogramsforanimals.org.

Local food banks (www.nmfoodbanks.org):

  • Roadrunner Food Bank is the state’s largest hunger-relief organization, providing food to hundreds of partners across New Mexico, including partner distribution sites based in Doña Ana County. Since New Mexico is one of the most food insecure states, the best way to help is by making a financial contribution to buy and distribute food. To donate food items, call505-349-8909or email info@rrfb.org. Roadrunner will put you in touch with a partner in the Las Cruces area to deliver food to. Volunteers needed for outreach opportunities in southern New Mexico. For general food bank inquiries and to volunteer in Las Cruces, call 575-323-5150 or email shelby.stuckel@rrfb.org. For food assistance, call 575-523-4390 or download free app at www.rrfb.org/apple or www.rrfb.org/googleplay. Visit the special holiday mobile food pantry distribution on Mondays, Nov. 25 and Dec. 16; call 575-523-4390 for location and distribution time. Food bank staff and volunteers can also help those in need apply for SNAP (food stamp) benefits. Call toll-free 844-684-6268 or email snap@rrfb.org. For more information and additional ways to get involved, visit www.rrfb.org.
  • Casa de Peregrinos Emergency Food Program: Donate online at www.casadeperegrinos.org, call 575-523-5542 or take donations to 999 W. Amador Ave. (Mesilla Valley Community of Hope campus), Suite F. Visit www.casadeperegrinos.org to see what’s needed most. Donation and volunteer hours: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Food-assistance hours: 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Bring ID and recent proof of address for food assistance. Volunteers welcome. $50 provides 300 meals, $100 feeds an average family for a month. Casa de Peregrinos distributed more than 3.5 million pounds of food in Doña Ana County in 2018 at the flagship pantry and 13 rural pantries, plus monthly mobile food pantries at five Las Cruces senior centers, NMSU and Doña Ana Community College main and East Mesa campuses. 2018 Casa de Peregrinos statistics: 6,085 volunteer hours contributed, 1.2 million-plus pounds of food rescued, $157,638 contributed by individual donors.
  • Aggie Cupboard is a free service that distributes food to NMSU students, staff and faculty in need from NMSU Las Cruces and Doña Ana Community College campuses; food is available by presenting current NMSU ID. Open 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesdays, 3-6 p.m. Thursdays or email aggiecupboard@nmsu.edu for appointment. Drop off food donations 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesdays and 1-3 p.m. Thursdays at 906 Gregg St., NMSU main campus, or e-mail to arrange alternative time. Items needed: canned chicken and tuna, peanut butter, soup, canned fruit and vegetables, cereal, evaporated milk, cooking oil, toiletries. Aggie Cupboard began in 2012. It had 1,369 client visits in fall 2018, 958 in spring 2019 and 444 in summer 2919. It distributed 36,023 pounds of food in 2018-19 academic year. Call 575-646-7636, email aggiecupboard@nmsu.edu. Donate online at mas.nmsu.edu/project/6947, Facebook at Aggie Cupboard at NMSU. Thanksgiving meals for Aggie Cupboard clients: Cash donations accepted at all Sodexo at NMSU main campus restaurants to buy frozen turkeys. Food donations accepted at Aggie Cupboard through Thursday, Nov. 14 to go with turkeys: Fill a reusable shopping bag with flour, sugar, mashed potato mix, gravy, boxed stuffing, tortilla chips, cornbread mix, canned goods: green chile, chile con queso cheese, vegetables, pie filling, cranberry.


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