Santa Fe Fire Department hosts annual Christmas toy drive
SANTA FE, N.M. – This year, the Santa Fe Fire Department is gathering toys for 5,000 children across northern New Mexico – many of them in the foster system.
“We started out in Santa Fe, probably helping about 200 kids at the most, and then it’s kind of grown. COVID, made things a lot worse, and then the fire in Mora. And yeah, so those kids, that was already a poor area, and so we’ve taken on about 2,000 kids in that area alone,” said SFFD Fire Inspector Roland Jones.
Jones says so many children lost everything in the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire. It was the worst wildfire in New Mexico history, burning almost 350,000 acres.
The fire took generational homes, and favorite toys. So something as simple as a gift card can really make a difference.
“The forgotten group is always 12 to 18. We get a million stuffed animals or like younger kid toys. Teenagers, I would say, I spent probably four hours cutting out tags that we’re gonna have at the De Vargas mall for the Giving Tree. I would say 90% of teenage kids want Bluetooth headphones,” said Jones.
Jones says the toy drive is in its fifteenth year, and it’s grown to have over 30 donation locations, including every Santa Fe fire station.
People can give virtually on their website. People can donate money or scroll through their Amazon wish list.
Jones says this year is off to a slow start, but he’s hopeful things will pick up.
“You feel excited that you’re gonna be able to buy these kids the gifts they want. You want to you truly feel like you’re helping them which is, you know, it’s still gonna be a big stretch this year though,” said Jones.
Santa Claus says he’ll know if you’ve been naughty or nice.
“You guys got to be good kids this year. Don’t want to get coal, and write your letters to us, let us know what you guys want for Christmas,” said Santa.