In the spirit of giving and community care, Taos Pueblo police have been collecting donations to give to members of their community on the pueblo for the holiday season.
The department has brought in donations of food, clothes and blankets to share with members of the pueblo and handed out over 80 bags of food to those in need for Thanksgiving. Currently, the department is collecting for their handout for the Christmas season and will be accepting a multitude of goods to deliver to the families and individuals on Taos Pueblo and around Taos who need that extra bit of help for the winter.
"We are here for the community," said Taos Pueblo Police Chief Gary Lefthand. "Just like every community, there are those special families who need a little help."
With the help of Molina Healthcare, the Sangre de Cristo Chaplain Corps and some residents of the county, the department was able to collect and hand out a storeroom full of goods to the community in this seventh year of the drive. For their current drive, the department is looking for food, jackets and toys to deliver and has encouraged anyone to come forward who wants to help give.
A week before the holiday, the nine officers in the department load up their vehicles full of goods and hand them out around the area from dawn to dusk. Everything from turkeys to toys get distributed. This year, Lefthand said the department was able to deliver a bit more at Thanksgiving than in previous years. For Christmas, he hopes to extend some of the help beyond the pueblo to other families in Taos County.
"Sometimes people don't want to ask for help," Lefthand said. "I think some of the families are in dire need so more have come out to collect donations."
While he says every community has its issues, Lefthand said he has seen a gradual increase in those families the department assists with donations every year. This has led to an increased effort on his part to try and help more people as the years progress. In the future, Lefthand has plans to team up with other law enforcement in the area to collaborate on a massive food and toy drive for the holidays.
"It brings a lot of joy knowing we can help the community," said Elena Tafoya, administrative assistant with the Taos Pueblo Department of Public Safety Administrative.