Food bank is collecting donations for its holiday meal boxes

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FARMINGTON — Some local nonprofit organizations are seeking donations during the holiday season to help provide services to those in need, including those looking for a holiday meal or a pair of socks to keep their feet warm.  

The San Juan Center for Independence is collecting donations as part of its "Fill the Bus" campaign. The donations will be distributed to homeless people, according to peer support specialist Shannon Farrell.

The organization provides services to help those diagnosed with a disability to help them live an independent life, Farrell said. Officials there are seeking donations of several items, including new or gently used blankets, coats/jackets, clothing, gloves, hats, snacks, hand warmers, toothpaste, tooth brushes and toiletries, including feminine hygiene products.

The employees are planning to drive around the Farmington area to distribute the items themselves, serving hot chocolate or coffee and handing out the bags of items to those in need.

"We are not only helping them with immediate needs, we may be able to get some of them off the streets," Farrell said. "Especially the ones with disabilities, because a lot of people don't know what we offer."

Farrell said the organization is projecting it will distribute the donations sometime in the middle of December. Items can be left at the group's headquarters at 1204 San Juan Blvd. in Farmington. Those seeking information can contact Farrell at 505-566-5840.

At the ECHO Food Bank, the organization is preparing to distribute its holiday turkey boxes to make sure everyone has a holiday meal, according to CEO and president Alicia Borrego.

The agency will be distributing the boxes between Dec. 10 and Dec. 20. It is seeking donations of turkeys and hams, and nonperishable foods, including stuffing, corn, instant mashed potatoes, peas and anything else that would be good for a holiday meal for those in need.

In 2017, about 1,100 boxes were distributed to feed about 1,800 people, according to Borrego.

"So many people suffer from food insecurity," Borrego said. "We don't know how many people around us are suffering."

Donations can be made at the ECHO Food Bank location at 1921 E. Murray Drive in Farmington.

Information on qualifying for a holiday box can be found at https://echoinc.org/holiday-food-boxes.

Other agencies such as Totah Behavioral Health and Childhaven also are collecting donations to give to their clients.

Totah, which provides provide support for a wide range of behavioral health conditions, is accepting donations of socks and blankets, according to Laura Ann Crawford, regional director for Presbyterian Medical Services, which operates Totah Behavioral Health.

Crawford added the agency prefers donations of travel-size toiletries typically found in hotel or motel bathrooms.

Andrea Peña, development director of the Childhaven Foundation, said items on the agency's 2018-2019 wish list include coloring books, journals, twin-size comforter sets, art/craft supplies and new suitcases.

Childhaven also is staging its annual Pledge for Children Campaign and hopes to raise $50,000 by the end of the year, Peña said.

A full list of items Childhaven is seeking is available at https://childhavennm.org/wish-list.php.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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