Buy a gift that gives back

Pop-up boutique to benefit Cody Woolard

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The holiday season is here. If you are looking for a place to buy gifts that support a good cause, Las Comadres in Commerce members have worked for several weeks to make it possible.

The group was created in 2015 by Angelina Romero and Kristen Rivera as a network of Northern New Mexico women. Their main goals are encouraging each other to succeed in life and in business and making contributions to the Taos community.

The team has grown to include nearly 80 female business owners. They get together regularly to share information about their businesses and to find ways to lend a hand to others.

"Our first pop-up boutique took place in March and was a fundraiser to help Jerome Martínez and his family with medical expenses for his cancer treatment," Rivera said. "Our second boutique happened in August and was also a fundraiser for a local family. We host these events to help the ladies in our group build and strengthen our businesses, as well as help a person or a family in need. It is our aim to improve our community."

The third boutique is intended to raise funds for Cody Woolard, who moved from southern Illinois to Taos three years ago to attend the Earthship Academy. According to his mother, Sherri Woolard, he fell in love with the area and decided to make it his home. He worked for New Mexico River Adventures as a rafting guide for the past two seasons.

"Cody was the innocent victim of a DWI accident that happened at the end of September," Rivera said. "There were two other people in the vehicle with him. Those two passed away, and Cody survived but was critically injured. We will be focusing on raising money to help with Cody's medical expenses. We also want to bring attention to the serious problem of driving under the influence within our state and community."

Woolard, who was airlifted to Albuquerque, is still in the neurological Intensive Care Unit at University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, recovering from a traumatic brain injury caused by the accident.

"He had a small setback recently when the skull bone, removed shortly after the accident to alleviate brain swelling, became infected," said his mother. "The bone has been removed again and a plate will be inserted when the infection is under control."

She remembered how her son whispered his first words last week since the accident.

"He continues to improve and, with luck, should be ready for rehab within six months," she said.

The pop-up boutique

The event will take place Saturday (Dec. 9) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Body Shop-Taos in Cabot Plaza. The shop belongs to dancer and fitness instructor Julia Fernández de Maez and Zumba instructor Victoria Carballo. Both are members of the networking group.

There will be 18 booths. Among the items for sale are skincare products, cosmetics, purses and handbags, health and fitness products and services, candles, clothing and much more. Alicia Thomas will be there with her "Run Wildly" handcrafted leather items. Lisa Maestas, owner of LeeSa & Company, will sell leather handbags and jewelry. Rose Martínez, owner of Rose's House of Fashion, will bring clothes, shoes and all sorts of accessories. She will also offer fashion consultations.

As usual, all the boutique participants have donated items for a couple of raffles.

"Every booth has contributed a prize that is a minimum of $20 in value from their respective businesses," Rivera said. "Many have donated additional items that are being contributed to a Grand Prize Basket. Raffle tickets will get you a chance to win hundreds of dollars worth of prizes! Among them are Lanie Day Leggings, Paparazzi, Rodan + Fields, Nerium and Juice Plus products."

Every adult guest will receive one free raffle ticket and will have the opportunity to purchase additional tickets ($1 each) to increase their chances of winning and to help raise funds for Woolard. Tickets can also be purchased for the Grand Prize drawing for $3 each.

Food will also be part of the event.

"We are also organizing a Frito pie sale and concession booth to help raise funds, with the assistance of other local businesses," Rivera said.

Las Comadres in Commerce plan to host three or four more pop-up boutiques in 2018.

"Just like we did this year, every boutique will serve as a fundraiser for a local person or family who needs our help," Rivera said.

"Cody's father and I continue to be amazed by the love and generosity shown by his friends and the Taos community," said Sherri Woolard. "We are thankful to have our son and the incredible people he surrounded himself with."

A Go Fund Me medical fund for Cody Woolard has also being created. To donate visit gofundme.com/medical-fund-for-cody-woolard.

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