ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It started out as a few people wanting to give back during the holidays, but each year, more families needed help and more people wanted to help. Los Ojos de la Familia will give out 21,000 meals and more than a thousand toys this holiday season.
“We are making 300 food baskets for New Mexico families in need,” said Jill Montoya, Co-Founder of Los Ojos de la Familia.
About a hundred volunteers spent their day filling up baskets with a lot of food and toys for families all across New Mexico. But, it wasn’t always this busy for them.
“The first year we started off with 75 families and we’ve just progressively gotten up to now this year is 300,” said Montoya.
It’s grown so much over the past seven years that they’ve had to move into a warehouse. What was once a handful of friends and family, has now turned into more than a hundred Good Samaritans.
“These baskets provide food, toiletries, different items. There’s about 80 pounds of food in these baskets, its equivalent to 21,000 meals that we’ll provide,” said Onesimo Vigil, Vice President of Los Ojos de la Familia.
Vigil says helping these deserving families hits close to home because it wasn’t long ago when he was the one in need, and that’s what inspired these volunteers to help others.
“There was a time where I needed help, and you know, we didn’t have food. So, now I’m in a position where I can give back and I can provide the food,” he said.
Organizers say being the ones who are providing the goods for these families makes all the work, worth it.
“You see a lot of relief come off the faces of the adults in the household because they know at least they’re going to have a meal for the holidays and the children will have a little something under the Christmas tree,” said Montoya.
The organization is contacted by people across the state who know families that need help. They will be delivering the baskets tomorrow and 50 of the 300 baskets will be going to Santa Fe.
Los Ojos de la Familia worked with 50 corporate sponsors this year to help provide the 21,000 meals. The toys were donated by Toys ‘R Us.