Albuquerque karate instructor connects cops and kids with toys

Albuquerque karate instructor connects cops and kids with toys

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) –  An Albuquerque businessman raises thousands of dollars, then right before Christmas spends it all on toys for kids and he’s been doing it for years.

But this year he’s added a new twist.

The karate studio, near Comanche Road and Eubank Boulevard, may not look like much from the outside, but inside there’s a lot of action and discipline taking place.

And it’s that same karate studio where owner, Ray Barrera Jr., says he initially got the idea.

According to Barrera he does this every year to help teach his students a thing or two about life outside the classroom.

“We thought, why don’t we start raising money to give back to kids,” said Barrera. “So that maybe these kids will learn to appreciate what’s given to them.”

This year, Barrera says he had another idea and decided to give the toys to the men in blue.

“He actually approached me, told me who he was, what he was about,” said Albuquerque Police Department Officer Simon Drobik.

It was $2,000 worth of toys, from stuffed animals to board games and basketballs. Everything new.

“There’s lot of tragic calls that we take, so these toys are going to go a long way,” said Officer Drobik. “Every officer in the northeast area command is going to have a truck load of toys.”

Barrera says he’s donated the toys to other organizations before. He says he’s can’t explain why this year seems to be more special than in years past, but says there’s something about creating a bond between cops and kids.

“Now they see a real human being, being kind to them and giving them something with nothing in return, what does that say,” said Barrera.

All the toys were delivered to the department last week. APD says they’re now all with officers. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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