Helping Kids Smile this Season

December 7, 2017 - Dorene DiNaro

LODLF toys photoIt might be hard to imagine a child waking up on Christmas morning without a single toy under the tree, but for many families right here in New Mexico, that’s a sad reality.  Luckily, for the past seven years, Los Ojos de la Familia, a grassroots movement that works to provide New Mexicans with educational development and quality of life assistance, has made the holidays a little brighter for these families.

This year, as in years past, the UNM Division of Student Affairs and BeKind UNM have teamed up with Los Ojos de la Familia to collect toys for families in need. Over 150 toys were donated and given to the organization on December 6 for delivery later this month. 

“This year we will be providing over 400 families with baskets,” says Patricia Ruiz  Los Ojos de la Familia board member.  “The baskets weigh over 70 pounds and include both food and toys for the children.”

Los Ojos de la Familia relies of the generosity of community members and other organizations such as The University of New Mexico to ensure that their drive is successful each year. 

“Many of these families are referred to us by their child’s school principal or counselor—the people who really see the needs of these children,” Ruiz says. “This year 80 percent of the families who will receive the baskets are families with children.”

Throughout the year, the BeKind UNM team holds various events aimed at spreading kindness not only throughout the UNM community but also our city.  They are always excited to collect toys during this time of year. 

Dr. Kim Kloeppel, BeKind UNM committee chair encourages everyone to spread kindness and pay it forward.  “It makes your holiday a bit brighter knowing that you are helping put a smile on a child’s face,” she says. “Showing kindness during the holidays is especially important to help those in need.”

Their biggest event is the celebration of Random Acts of Kindness Week in February each year.  The celebration will take place the week of Feb. 11-17 and have several fun free events including the popular Kindness Carnival which will take place on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. 

As members of The University of New Mexico community, and the higher education system, there is a great possibility that we will have the ability to provide support, financial and otherwise, to our communities. We are proud to be able to contribute to this effort. 

Please visit the BeKind UNM initiative and UNM Student Affairs websites for more information.  For more information on Los Ojos de la Familia, please visit their website.