Great importance is placed on the meaning of “family” in the Mesilla Valley, and that word can take on more meaning than that reserved for blood kin. The DNA of this community is special. It’s why so many newcomers have decided to make the valley home and why so many native residents who leave come back over the years. This is a community full of kind people, shown not only by the smiles and waves given to neighbors and strangers alike, but also by our commitment to giving to our neighbors in need. Area nonprofit organizations are supported by our community and in turn support those who need help. Let’s meet some of them.
NONPROFITS SUPPORTING CHILDREN
Children are the future of our community and deserve the best possible opportunity to succeed. Mesilla Valley Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a program to give voice to kids in our community who don’t always have one. The children in this program are those most in need of a volunteer who cares and will listen. CASA volunteers are trained and given tools to make informed recommendations within the court system in the best interest of the children for whom they advocate.
One CASA volunteer commented, “I never even thought of volunteering for something like this, and now I can’t imagine not being involved with my CASA kid. Their whole face lights up every time I see them.” Brandi White is program director for CASA and always on the lookout for volunteers. You can find more information on their website at mesillavalleycasa.org.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is another organization dedicated to supporting the next generation. Big Brothers Big Sisters has been around nationally for more than a century and in New Mexico since 1979. Beth Hoffman is the regional director in Las Cruces and has done a great deal to raise awareness for Big Brothers Big Sisters through fun events like the Golf “Fore” Kids’ Sake golf tournament (to be held June 3 this year), MUDD Volleyball on August 20, and the 1st American Bank Winter Wonderland Auction on November 17.
“This year our focus is on outdoor activity,” Beth says. “We want our kids to discover outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, sports, even flying a kite. We want our ‘littles’ to gain appreciation for the outdoors.”
New Seasons Community Church will host its annual backpack giveaway on July 9 in consideration of the recently unveiled year-round school schedule for Las Cruces Public Schools. This event offers free food, music, and haircuts for all. If you would like to donate your time and/or resources, reach out to them at newseasonslc.org.
Some family members most in need of charity are those with four legs. Our loyal pets give us so much joy and love every day — it’s hard to imagine life without them! Hardworking organizations in our community dedicate their time and resources to the well-being of abused or abandoned pets.
Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary (SHAS) opened in 1996 and is the largest no-kill animal sheltering facility in Doña Ana County. There are many ways to donate to SHAS, including money, time, or by giving gently used clothing and goods to their thrift store at 840 El Paseo Rd. Find them online at shaspets.com.
The Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley (ASCMV) is the municipal sheltering facility with a mission to help animals that have been mistreated, abandoned, or lost in Doña Ana County. A big upcoming event to support the ASCMV is Mutt and Meow Fest, sponsored by this year’s Leadership Las Cruces class, on Saturday, May 14, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at 150 E. Lohman Ave.
Other deserving animal-based charities in the Las Cruces area include:
Doña Ana County Humane Society
ACTion Programs for Animals
The Cat’s Meow Adoption Center
Cherished K-9 All Breed Rescue
SpayNeuter Action Program
Enchanted Pass Animal Rescue
Humane Society of Southern New Mexico
Cruces Cool Cats
Broken Promises SW
I’m Almost Home Animal Rescue
(facebook.com/Im-Almost- Home-Animal Rescue-102831131326389)
MORE WAYS TO HELP OTHERS
Four Paws and A Wake Up (k94paws.org/new-mexico) is an organization through which dogs are trained to help the veterans of our community. With chapters in New Mexico and North Carolina, Four Paws and a Wake Up is dedicated to “empowering people with disabilities to achieve greater independence and enhanced quality of life through the services of specially trained dogs.”
Andrea Joseph, founder and CEO of the New Mexico Four Paws and A Wake Up, has built a tremendous facility to train dogs to help those who sacrificed so much for our freedoms. However, “not every puppy can be selected to be a part of our training,” Andrea says. “It takes a special dog with a particular intelligence and temperament to be one of our graduates.” The animals that are eventually given to the veterans can aid in everything from household chores to calming down a post-traumatic stress disorder episode. If you would like to donate to this program or find out more, email [email protected].
The past two years of the pandemic hit many in our community hard and created unanticipated times of need. Many businesses simply shut down, and many people who wanted to work couldn’t. One business owner, Marci Dickerson, and the nonprofit she runs, Revolution 120, truly stepped up to help our community. Marci and Summer Rose-Nolen have been fixtures in the Las Cruces business community for years and together formed Revolution 120 in fall 2017.
Revolution 120 is a small nonprofit that can pivot to give immediate help and relief where it is most needed. “The community of Las Cruces is the most generous and supportive community,” Marci says with a smile. “When people needed help, the support was overwhelming.” Revolution 120 facilitated donations of more than 60,000 meals from the community during the pandemic. If you are interested in supporting the vision of Revolution 120, find more information at revolution120.org.
pilgrimage has many steps, and the pilgrim on that journey must take them all, rain or shine. Along any pilgrimage, there will be hard times. Mesilla Valley Community of Hope is where pilgrims fallen on those hard times can find a moment of relief, however long that moment may be. Within the Community of Hope campus are several supporting organizations.
First, El Caldito Soup Kitchen, which has been around for more than 30 years, provides warm meals almost every day of the week and sack lunches on Saturdays. Volunteers cook and serve meals to the food insecure and one of Las Cruces’ favorite events, Empty Bowls, provides support to this organization. Go to elcalditolc.org for more information.
Second, Jardin de los Niños’ mission is to create new possibilities for homeless and near homeless children and their families through loving childcare, education, and community resources. Visit jardinlc.org if this sounds like something that could benefit you or you are looking to give the resource of time or money.
Finally, the Amador Health Center’s (amadorhealth.org) doors are open to anyone in the community, whether they suffer from mental, physical, or emotional illness, with or without insurance. The Amador Health Center works closely with other local facilities, like La Piñon (lapinon.org) and La Casa (lacasainc.org) to help protect their patients and facilitate meeting their needs.
NEW HOME FOR CASA DE PEREGRINOS
Casa de Peregrinos broke ground on a new facility March 31 so they could help more people in our community in myriad ways. Casa de Peregrinos was founded by four people in 1979 to feed those who were hungry, and in 2022, they expect to give more than three million meals to community members. Casa de Peregrinos doesn’t just look to satisfy the immediate hunger of an individual or family. It also seeks to educate and give assistance to empower people along their journey.
Lorenzo Alba, executive director of Casa de Peregrinos, has a quote posted in his office attributed to Mother Teresa of Calcutta: “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” Lorenzo explains how that quote is indicative of the generosity of people in the Las Cruces community. “Of all the resources we have, the biggest pool of donations comes from individuals, local families, and local businesses,” he says. “This community will always find a way to give. That’s what makes it so unique.” To donate your time or resources to Casa de Peregrinos, find more information on their website, casadeperegrinos.org.
If you would like to make the community aware of a charitable organization we didn’t include, please comment on the LasCruces.com or Neighbors Facebook page. We would love to hear from you!
Story by Daniel Gonzales
Photography by Amanda Gonzales and courtesy
Originally published in Neighbors magazine.
Posted by LasCruces.com