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It started with a class project at J. Paul Taylor Academy (JPTA) and wound up with a $30,000 donation to help people challenged by homelessness.
As part of teacher Jaime Alvarez’s “Passion Project,” Lillian (her family asked that her last name not be used), a second grader in Alvarez’s class at JPTA in Las Cruces, wrote a letter to a Valley Drive Walmart Store Manager Arnold Diaz in late 2019 asking for a donation to help homeless veterans.
As a result of that letter, the Valley Drive Walmart donated a $200 gift card and 100 blankets to Mesilla Valley Community of Hope (MVCH) and delivered them last November. MVCH Executive Director Nicole Martinez then applied for and received a $4,000 Walmart store grant, which included donations of tents and tarps to MVCH from all 11 Walmarts in the Las Cruces region in December.
But the giving didn’t stop there.
Walmart Southern New Mexico Market Manager Tim Walsh, who lives in Las Cruces and works with all 11 stores in the region, said Walmart officials saw the Las Cruces Bulletin story about Lillian’s work and Walmart’s donation and wanted to provide even more help to MVCH.
On Tuesday morning, Feb. 18, Diaz, Walsh and seven Walmart employees took a tour of MVCH and its Camp Hope tent city, which provides shelter for people struggling with homelessness, and presented Martinez with a check for $30,000.
“I just think what you’re doing is amazing,” Diaz told Martinez.
I am in awe of the Walmart team’s support,” Martinez said. “This generous contribution will allow us to serve more homeless veterans and people residing at Camp Hope with permanent housing.”
“We at MVCH are so impressed by how this project has snowballed into an amazing response to helping veterans living on the streets,” Martinez said in December. “Lillian is a leader in compassion and action, and Walmart managers both local and statewide are champions in their support for this effort. We are truly grateful for JPTA's educational and impactful learning opportunity, to Lillian for leading this project and to Walmart for responding to the call.”
MVCH is located at 999 W. Amador Ave.
For more information, call MVCH at 575-523-2219. Visit www.mvcommunityofhope.org.