It is the holiday that forces those of us who aren’t adept in the kitchen to challenge ourselves, stretch our spatulas and try to make something we aren’t ashamed to share with our friends and family. Or at least we go out and buy the nicest looking pie we can find and pretend we were up at 4 a.m. baking it. Regardless of our culinary skills (or sad lack thereof) we all try to show up at a Thanksgiving meal with a goodie for the table.
Thanksgiving also marks the beginning for many people of “the giving season.” With the onset of winter and freezing weather, the idea of people enduring cold nights with no shelter and empty bellies, or the thought of children not receiving a gift during the holidays, many of us dip into our wallets and try to help out.
Taos has always been generous this way. And this year, as always, a lot of Taoseños are in need of shelter, food and comfort.
There are no end to ways each of us can pitch in. Even if we don’t have money to spare, we can pitch in with our equally valuable time to help gather up and sort donations, bag food at the food pantry or Taos Feeds Taos event and decorate on the Taos Plaza. If nothing else, resolve to be kinder to others through the season, in words and actions. And then make that kindness last beyond the holiday season.
Here are just a few places that need both donations and volunteers through the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and beyond. Help where you can with what you can. Every little action has big ripple effects. Every bit makes a positive difference.
Here are a few places to consider:
Taos Feeds Taos, enters its 32nd year creating holiday food baskets for people in need. They could use a lot of extra hands to help sort and box up food in early December. Find out more at taosfeedstaos.org/help_us.php
St. James Episcopal Church has several opportunities to help the community. Some of those, like the weekly Food Pantry, needs volunteers every Monday and Thursday to bag up and pass out food. The church, which welcomes volunteers of any faith, also needs help with its annual Giving Tree and Holiday Bazaar. Find out more at stjamestaos.org/in-the-community
Taos Men’s Shelter on Albright Street needs personal care items such as toothpaste and soap, along with paper towels, sandwich bags and paper plates. Residents also need an assortment of new hats, gloves, socks and T-shirts in all sizes. See their complete list of needs at taosmensshelter.org/blank
H.E.A.R.T. of Taos - Housing for Homeless Women seeks donations to help place women and children in housing. Find out more at heartoftaos.org/
The organization also has a winter outreach program, for which tents, sleeping bags, protein bars and bottled water are needed. Find out more by calling (575) 776-4245.
Our local animal shelters and sanctuaries also could use some love. Drop off a bag of dog or cat food at Stray Hearts (heartoftaos.org/) or Taos Feral Felines (taosferalfelinefriends.tripod.com/). Or take a bag of carrots and a bag of oats to the Equine Spirit Sanctuary (https://www.facebook.com/equinespiritsanctuary/). All these organizations also need volunteers to work with the animals.
Many churches around the community also have food and clothing drives. Call up the one nearest you to see how you can help.
This season, buy local
While you are out buying clothes or goods to donate or gifts for your loved ones, here’s another way to help your community – shop local whenever possible. Sure you can get great discounts by shopping online, but when you buy local, more of your dollars stay put in your community. You are helping your friends and neighbors who work hard to keep businesses in Taos afloat.
Keep in mind Small Business Saturday, which is a local option to the Black Friday holiday spend-a-thon. Help your town and find unique gifts at your many local shops. You can get some great discounts too by taking the Shop Local Taos pledge. Find out more at ShopLocalTaos.com. Community members who take the pledge will receive a free membership card. Print it out or download it to your phone to show as you check out at participating businesses and receive the discounts. If your favorite stores aren’t participating in the Shop Local campaign, encourage them to do so.
We’re taking the pledge. How about you?