ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque non-profit’s holiday project has grown tremendously over the last eight years.
This year, they have hundreds of families on their list that need help, but the organization needs some help of its own to meet its goal.
“As we know, in New Mexico we are a huge poverty state,” said Jill Montoya, Ojos de la Familia co-founder.
She says the need is great.
“The vast majority of children in our communities are hungry and starving so it’s really important for us to provide some kind of assistance especially this time of year where food is concerned,” Montoya said.
During the holidays, they give out baskets full of food, but not just for Christmas dinner.
The families are nominated by school counselors and community members in the Metro and Santa Fe.
“You’re looking at food that can last anywhere from a couple weeks, which can make a big difference in a family that needs food,” explained Patricia McCoy, Ojos de la Familia board member.
Organizers say the food is especially important during Christmas break for families whose kids depend on school meals.
This year, 400 families are slated to receive 70-pound food baskets filled with potatoes, beans, rice, bread, peanut butter and jelly.
However, there is still something missing.
“A lot of these children, along with not having food, won’t get a gift for Christmas this year because their families just can’t provide them with that,” Montoya said.
They are especially trying to collect gifts for older kids like children 8-years-old and up.
They say teens are often overlooked.
For families who have to choose between food on the table or a gift under the tree, “It means a lot to be able to help our community,” Montoya said.
Ojos de la Familia also helps people pay utilities, gives kids scholarships for school and sports and helps first responders who may need assistance.
For more information on donating toys, click here.