Many volunteers, donors helping Northern New Mexico at year's end

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I hope you had a safe and peaceful Christmas.

Holidays can be hard for some people who may be triggered by painful memories or grief. Community Against Violence's shelter was again full over Christmas, including approximately 13 children. Because of the community's help, these children plus nearly 500 Angel Tree children received personalized gifts. And thanks to Jim Schlarbaum, who believes Santa should go where he is needed, children in shelter received a personal visit from Santa.

With the new year coming, many of us are making year-end donations or planning our charitable giving for 2018. Community Against Violence (CAV) deeply appreciates those who have supported us and are planning to do so again.

Many great organizations in Northern New Mexico serve people who are struggling, whether with homelessness, disability, addiction, violence, poverty, post-traumatic stress disorder or other chronic or short-term challenges. You can help by donating food, money or volunteer time. You can also contact these organizations to help with their "wish list" - usually items such as, linens, personal hygiene or cleaning supplies, food, office equipment or help with repairs.

Northern New Mexico has one of the highest rates of children living in poverty and with food insecurity. Several organizations would appreciate donations in 2018:

The Shared Table (ElPueblitoUMC.org) distributes commodities to more than 500 people in need (including many children) every 2nd and 4th Wednesday, all year long, at El Pueblito United Methodist Church from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and at Ranchos Presbyterian Church from 2 p.m.- 3 p.m.

Taos Feeds Taos (TaosFeedsTaos.org) wrapped up its 32nd holiday food basket distribution for 2017, serving more than 1,100 needy families.

St. James Episcopal Church Food Pantry (StJamesTaos.org) distributes about 600 bags of food every Thursday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Questa, Peñasco, Carson and Chamisal also have food pantries. Schedules and contact information for local food pantries can be found at TheFoodDepot.org.

CAV, the Men's Homeless Shelter, and the DreamTree Project are other shelter programs providing food.

The DreamTree Project (DreamTreeProject.org) is a vital organization that offers emergency teen shelter, transitional apartments and resources for youth throughout northern New Mexico. The Taos Men's Shelter (TaosMensShelter.org) provides a safe, clean haven for men who are homeless. And, of course, CAV (TaosCAV.org) offers emergency and transitional housing for adults and children who are survivors of domestic or sexual violence.

EnSueños Y Los Angelitos Development Center (ELADC.org) provides quality individualized services, birth through life, to children with special needs and adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities and their families.

Assistance Dogs of the West (AssistanceDogsoftheWest.org) trains dogs to help people with disabilities, seizure disorders, diabetes and PTSD. Trained dogs also work with survivors in places like CAV to decrease stress, particularly with children.

Northern New Mexico is also struggling with high rates of people addicted to drugs and alcohol. Tri-County Behavioral Health Services (TriCountyBehavioral.com) offers counseling and support for addiction and mental health issues. Inside Out (RecoveryInsideOut.org) offers many services including peer support, cognitive behavioral therapy groups and job skills. Rio Grande Treatment Program (RioGrandeATP.org) offers outpatient treatment and support services.

I have listed just a few great non-profits that need support and who are doing fantastic work to better our community. A tradition of charitable giving improves our community. By each of us giving our time and resources, together we produce results that are bigger, more meaningful and more effective than anything we could possibly do alone.

Malinda Williams is the executive director of Community Against Violence, Inc. (CAV) which offers FREE confidential support and assistance for adult and child survivors of sexual and domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking; community and school violence prevention programs; re-education BIP groups for domestic violence offenders; counseling; shelter; transitional housing; and community thrift store. To talk with someone or get information on services available, call CAV's 24-hour crisis line at (575) 758- 9888. TaosCAV.org

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