Lending a hand: Rio del Sol Kiwanis asks community to help buy clothing for children

Rio del Sol Kiwanis Club needs assistance after all its fundraisers were cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times

AZTEC — Each year, the Rio del Sol Kiwanis Club takes hundreds of children shopping during the holidays for new clothes at Target.

This year, the club is asking the community to help keep this tradition going as it struggles to raise the money for the event.

Rio del Sol Kiwanis Club Secretary Jill McQueary said the event usually costs the club about $28,000 to $30,000, which the organization gets through fundraisers throughout the year. This year, Rio del Sol Kiwanis had planned various fundraisers, including a rubber duck race, the production of the musical "Annie," a pancake breakfast and Dining with the Dead. All or some of the proceeds from each of those fundraisers would have gone to the Clothes for Kids program.

Then the coronavirus pandemic swept across New Mexico, leading to events being cancelled as officials work to stop the spread of the illness and flatten the curve.

Rio del Sol Kiwanis Club cancelled each of the fundraisers.

Now, McQueary said the club is hoping community members will step up and help the children. She said people can sponsor a child and donate to the cause online.

McQueary said usually 300 children receive $100 each to buy clothes at Target during the Clothes for Kids event.

The children who receive clothing are often selected by teachers and are among the most in need in the community.

Volunteer Cheryl Martin helps Kira Spires search for boots, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 during the  Rio del Sol Kiwanis Club's Clothes for Kids event at Target in Farmington.

McQueary said that while the fundraisers have been cancelled, which could leave the club short on cash, families are more in need than ever. COVID-19 has caused some businesses to close and many people to lose their jobs.

“They have other things they have to spend their money on,” she said, citing food and rent as areas some families have had to prioritize over clothing.

Her husband, club president Paul McQueary, echoed those sentiments and encouraged people who can help to donate.

"We don't know any other way than to ask people who are fortunate enough to have extra cash to buy kids extra clothes," he said.

Volunteer Jenny Coffey, left, talks with Robert Coffman and his grandmother Jerri Coffman with their purchases, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 during the  Rio del Sol Kiwanis Club's Clothes for Kids event at Target in Farmington.

People can sponsor a child online at riodelsolkiwanis.com. For every $100 that people donate, one child will receive new clothes. Sponsors will receive a certificate of sponsorship. Donors can also volunteer to shop with the child during the November event and the certificate of sponsorship will allow them to move to the front of the line to be matched with a child.

A Facebook fundraiser has also been set up on the Rio del Sol Kiwanis Facebook page.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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