Organizers of a holiday toy drive for disadvantaged children in Northern New Mexico say the effort was a rousing success.
“We ended up being able to do Christmas for about 1,400 kids,” said Jyl DeHaven, a commercial real estate broker with EXIT Realty Advantage NM, which has run the toy drive for the past two years. “It’s such a needed piece of Christmas around here.”
The drive attracted about $36,000 in cash and gifts.
The Northern New Mexico Toy Drive accepts toys and gift cards at donation drop-off locations across the region, including Santa Fe, Los Alamos and Española. The gifts are then distributed to children through a network of partner organizations.
This year, those organizations include Casa Familia; the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department; Jemez Pueblo; Las Cumbres; Presbyterian Medical Services; Portfolio Resident Services; Santo Domingo Social Services; the Santa Fe Indigenous Center; and Villa Therese Catholic Clinic.
Rollin Tylerr Jones, an inspector with the Santa Fe Fire Department, started the toy drive around 13 years ago. Jones was named one of The New Mexican’s 10 Who Made a Difference in 2019.
After the coronavirus pandemic began, he and other first responders looked for others to organize the event. EXIT Realty, along with the experiential entertainment company Meow Wolf and others, picked up the baton in 2020.
“If the kids felt like they had a good Christmas, I’d be happy,” Jones said.