Leah Romero | Las Cruces Sun News | 12/23/2020
LAS CRUCES – The Las Cruces community helped the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department exceed their goal of 1,000 holiday cards for the seniors living in Doña Ana County nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
The letter campaign was an effort to ensure roughly 1,000 senior facility residents in the county received at least one holiday card this season. The COVID-19 pandemic has kept families from visiting their loved ones in person for much of this year, so the state department’s goal was to bring some holiday cheer to the residents and let them know they have not been forgotten.
Andrea Ferrales-Narvaez, ombudsmen with ALTSD and executive assistant to Sheriff Kim Stewart, said Tuesday that they had received about 2,500 cards, and were still getting deliveries. Now, each resident will receive at least two cards. Community members also donated blankets, socks, candy canes, and stuffed animals.
Donors also included the White Sands Missile Range Command Staff, Ambercare, Mesilla Valley Hospital, Alpha School and many other individuals.
“It was a tremendous response,” said Rosa Torres, LTC Ombudsman Program Southwest regional coordinator. “It's really something neat in the midst of, you know, this whole pandemic and just, it's a miracle.”
The ombudsmen said the campaign might be something they continue to hold every year.
Doña Ana County sheriff’s deputies began delivering items and letters to facilities Monday and will continue to do so in the coming days. Sheriff Stewart joined in the distribution and went to Casa de Oro Center Tuesday.
“The response, I don't think it's unique. I think if we do it every year, we'll get it,” Stewart said. “We do a lot for kids, and it's good we do, but we have a whole other population.”