Sixth graders from the Taos Day School reached out to their community last week and gave a hand to those in need at the Taos Men's Shelter for the Christmas season.
From serving dinner to delivering care packages, the sixth-grade student council and representatives of the sixth grade class joined in and spread some holiday cheer. Students prepared and served Frito pies at the shelter on Albright Street Wednesday (Dec. 20) evening and returned Thursday afternoon to deliver more than 30 care packages, which the students hand painted with various designs. Shelter officials said the efforts were much needed and appreciated. They were delighted to receive the care packages.
"To get this kind of help, especially from kids, is special," said shelter shift manager Byron McCabe. "For them to make the bags the way they did, that was really nice. It helps a lot."
Students and staff worked for more than a month, raising funds and getting everything ready for the event, which the students plan to continue for Christmas seasons to come. Students filled bags with snacks, toiletry items and other goodies for the shelter's clients and hand-delivered them to McCabe at the shelter.
The initiative was a winter project for the Taos Day School students. Students brought the food, prepared it and served it to guests of the shelter.
"Instead of giving presents to each other, we gave to people who don't get a lot of stuff," said student council member Jennifer Kaasa. "That's what Christmas is really about, giving to others."
McCabe said the students' gesture was a welcome bit of kindness at the shelter since they don't always have people offering to fix dinner. The shelter offers their clients dinner each night, however. If a group or individual does not volunteer to provide food, the last resort is often some sort of pizza or fast food.
"Some people might get one meal a day," said Frank Trujillo, a client at the Taos Men's Shelter. "They don't have any other resource. So if somebody brings a hot meal, it's a lot better than nothing."
The Taos Men's Shelter is equipped to house 20 men each night from 6 p.m.-8 a.m. and operates on government funding as well as grants. Clients are allowed to stay 10 nights per month for free and extensions may be granted if needed. Men at the shelter can also receive assistance in job searching. The shelter posts available jobs daily. In addition, the staff at the shelter offers help with interviewing, writing resumes and developing other needed skills.