Get into the holiday spirit with local toy drives

Even in times of economic crisis communities can get together to bring joy to the children’s hearts. CAV, the Angel Tree project and Taos Mountain Casino are askingTaosresidents and business owners to donate toys and gifts for their upcoming holiday toy drives.

The Angel Tree Project was founded by Jerry and Shirley Lujan so that disadvantaged children, special need citizens and the elderly in the community may receive a little extra help during the holidays in the form of toys, gifts and household goods. “We only ask that the children be brought in by the parents,” said Shirley Lujan, “so they can receive a gift and see Santa Claus.”

The Lujans are targeting December 16th as the give out date for the toys. “We encourage and challenge the local businesses to donate a toy for children and youngsters up to 18 years of age, or any gift for special need citizens and the elderly,” said Shirley Lujan. “This is a great way to bring Christmas cheer to a lot of people.”

The Angel Tree Project has been providing toys and joy to manyTaosresidents for approximately 15 years. “We started with Taos Pueblo and later expanded to where we now supply the needy withinTaosCounty,” said Lujan. “We have also supplied a couple of families inRioArribaCountywith gifts.”

Their intention is to brighten the holidays for low-income families in the area since they have been particularly affected by the crisis, but the Angel Tree Project needs more local support.

“It has been very hard to raise funds through our Bake Sales and Bingos this year,” said Lujan. “Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.”

The gift giveaway will take place on December 16th from 3:00 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. at the El Taoseño Room at Coronado Hall onCivic Plaza Drive. People can drop off the gifts at the Taos Police Department or call Shirley Lujan at 575-613-0840.

“With your help, we will bring a smile to the faces of the less fortunate during the holiday season,” said Angel Tree Project cofounder Jerry Lujan.

One of the businesses that will donate gifts and gift certificates to the Angel Tree toy drive is Twirl Toystore and Playspace. “We will have a Giving Tree at Twirl from Thanksgiving through December 15th, the day before the toy drive,” said Nikki Ross, Twirl’s Marketing Director. “Customers will receive $10 off their purchase if they buy a gift valued at $10 or over. They get to choose the child’s age and the sex; then we wrap the presents up and take them to the toy drive.”

Twirl is also giving the Angel Tree Project a $100 gift card so they can choose some additional gifts.

Community Against Violence is also hosting a toy drive. “We provide presents for more than 500 children fromTaosCounty,” said Loretta Romo, the Shelter’s Service Director. Romo started this project when she began working at CAV 15 years ago.

The CAV workers have put together an anonymous list of children (the “angels”) sorted by gender and age, and a list of the items that they either need or want. Donors go to the CAV offices and pick up the angels they want to help. Then they shop for the presents and bring them back to CAV.

The angels’ list will be available on November 21st and the gifts and due back at CAV on December 9th.

“You can adopt an angel and buy a gift for him or her for as little as 25 dollars,” Romo explained. “It doesn’t have to be very expensive.”

They collect gifts for children ages 0 to 16 years old.  “The hardest ones to provide to are teenagers,” Romo said. “But we try to get something for everybody.”

Anyone who does not want to go shopping can contribute financially to the project by making a cash donation. “We will make sure that all of the kids’ wishes get fulfilled,” Romo said.

Taos Mountain Casino is sponsoring the Taos Toy Drive. “We are hoping to give away 4,000 to 5, 000 toys to the needy families,” Jose Marquez, GSI Supervisor. “We invite all of our Players’ Club Members and all new guests to take advantage of this great opportunity to help those less fortunate this year!”

As guests of the casino, they have the opportunity to bring in a $10 toy or a more expensive one, and receive 250 points on their Bison Reward Card or 50 % off at the Red Diamond Restaurant, said Marquez.

As for the DreamTree Project, they don’t have a toy drive but are happy to take donations of gifts for the upcoming holiday season.  The Dream Tree project is an Emergency Youth Shelter Program for youth in immediate need, ages 12 to 17 years old. To find out what they have on their Wish Lists, contact Emergency Youth Shelter Director JoAnn Kovacev at 758-9595.

This is the time of the year for giving and sharing. The toy drives and wish lists give Taoseños the perfect opportunity to show their kindness during the holidays.


CAV Thrift Store is located at 1103 Paseo del Pueblo Sur
Store Hours: Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Phone (575) 751-4824


The DreamTree Project is located at128 La Posta Road
 Phone: 575.758.9595
Twirl is located at 225 Camino de la Placita, opposite Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.
Phone: 575-751-1402


Angel Tree Project
A collection box will be placed at the entrance to the new District Court Clerks Offices located at 105 Albright Street, Suite N.  Bring in an unwrapped new toy/item for a baby, youth, elderly or special need citizen!
Taos Mountain Casino is located at 700 Veterans Hwy  Taos, NM 87571
(575) 737-0777