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


“At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge … Want is keenly felt and Abundance rejoices,” as Charles Dickens said in his 1843 novella, “A Christmas Carol.”

There are so many ways to help people in need during this holiday season here in Las Cruces and throughout Doña Ana County and the border region. A financial donation in any amount is greatly appreciated, and so our donations of other items and volunteering.

The Bulletin will provide information on more organizations as the holidays continue. If you missed the stories we ran on the Salvation Army, Toys for Tots of Doña Ana County, Coats for Kids of Las Cruces and La Casa, Inc. domestic violence program, let us know and we can send you those.

Here is information about five programs helping others during the holidays and year-round.

  • Operation Christmas Child needs shoebox donations for children worldwide struggling with terrorism, poverty, famine and disease. It requests that no candy, toothpaste, liquids or toys that represent war be included. 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 center. Donations can be delivered 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, Nov. 18 and 20; 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 21; and 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 22. Contact Stephanie Muir at occsouthwestnm@gmail.com.
  • Las Cruces Public Schools’ Project Link Homeless Education Project Link serves about 600 temporarily or permanently homeless students and families each school year. It needs donations of blankets and new winter coats for teenage males and females, sizes S, M, L, XL and XXL; sizes 5t-16 for boys and girls; warm clothing, warmups with long sleeves, beanies, gloves, socks and underwear in all sizes for both boys and girls; diapers, sizes 1-4; shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, toothpaste, feminine products, laundry soap, wipes, bath towels, washcloths and snack bags. You can deliver items to Project Link office at Valley View Elementary School, 915 E. California St. Contact Ray Banegas at 575-527-6688 and rabanegas@lcps.net; 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 community in childhood literacy through its Raising Readers Together programs: First Teacher/Primer Maestro; Reading Buddy volunteers; and Summer Books, which distributes 10,000 quality children's books to keep kids reading all summer. Donate at www.childrensreadingalliance.org. You can also add CRA to your Amazon Smile account. And, you can donate new and gently used books for children ages birth to 8 (no religious books). Contact Jennifer Alvarado at 575-522-3713 or jalvarado@cralc.org.
  • Project Linusneeds new, washable, handmade quilts, afghans and fleece blankets to give to local children who are ill, traumatized or otherwise in need. It welcomes donations of blanket-making materials, postage stamps, cash and gift cards to Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts. Drop off fabric, yarn 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, P.O. Box 116, Mesilla Park, N.M. 88047. Contact Stoltzfus at 575-526-3695 and sgstolt13@gmail.com. Visit www.projectlinus.org and on Facebook.
  • 10th annual Christmas Shoe Box Project for children in Palomas, Mexico. Churches and other groups in southern New Mexico partner with local New Mexico Department of Health employees to collect and take shoeboxes filled with gifts for children, coats and blankets, to Palomas each December. Shoebox items may include toy cars, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, kazoos, yoyos, Etch-A-Sketches, jump ropes, slinkies, simple baby pull toys (no 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); hygiene items (soap, combs, toothpaste, toothbrushes, lotion, washcloths, etc.); also: socks, underwear, warm hats, mittens/gloves, T-shirts, barrettes, toy jewelry and inexpensive watches. You may also include hard candy and lollipops; put them in a separate plastic baggie. Pick a boy or girl for each shoebox (or small plastic container), ages 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14. Tape an identifying label to the top of the box. If you wrap the box, wrap the lid separately so the box can be inspected at the U.S.-Mexico border. You may wish to add a note in Spanish in each box. Take filled boxes and/or loose items to the drop box near entrance of the New Mexico Public Health Office, 1170 N. Solano Drive, by 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17. Contact Angie Sanchez Corral, 575-528-5123, angie.sanchez@state.nm.us.
Holiday Donations, Volunteering