EXIT Realty Advantage NM Toy Drive for Northern NM is a Huge Success with Spirit of EXIT

By Lance Eaton, Broker Owner of EXIT Realty Advantage NM in Los Alamos, NM

EXIT Realty Advantage NM is the primary sponsor of the Northern NM Toy Drive. One of our brokers, Becca Jones, and her husband started the toy drive approximately 12 years ago. Becca’s husband is part of the Santa Fe Fire Department (SFFD). When Becca joined EXIT Realty Advantage NM two years ago, she asked our office if we wanted to take over the toy drive, SFFD was not able to do it during COVID. We jumped at the opportunity to take the lead. We have since increased the number of organizations supported and funds raised.

Our goal was to collect a new toy for over 5,000 kids in need. We support over 36 organizations in need located throughout Northern New Mexico. In addition to collecting toys, we raised money to purchase new toys. Our organizations are all different. Some need gift cards for older teens. Some provide a list of desired toys for every kid in the organization. Other organizations will take anything we can offer. In one case, we took case workers shopping so they could pick out toys for each of the kids in their care.

Many of these kids are living in foster homes or with other family members. We support over 600 kids from local pueblos through their child services programs. Our toys also go to a homeless teen center and several family shelters located across Northern NM.  The money raised supplements the toys collected. We collect toys and funds through over 100 drop off locations and Amazon Wish Lists. We collect funds through business sponsors and personal donations. In 2023, we collected over 2,500 toys.

EXIT associates coordinate and run the entire program. This year, we hosted several events to raise awareness of the toy drive and collect toys or donations. We teamed with the local fire departments to host three Pictures with Santa events with the fire trucks. We hosted a Giving Tree event at a local mall. We participated in local non-profit showcases to allow us to talk about the organization and the benefits of donating. This is our third year of hosting an Ugly Sweater Party to collect toys and donations. Several local organizations including social groups, retirement homes, churches, and entertainment venues have held their own events in support of the toy drive.

The success and public awareness through newspaper articles and radio spots continue to attract new corporate sponsorship. Los Alamos National Laboratory is the largest employer in Northern NM. They joined our effort last year and we were able to collect donations directly from employee paychecks and the money will be directed to the Northern NM Toy Drive 501(c)3. We had 58 drop off locations scattered throughout the campus. In addition to LANL, we continue to team with the City of Santa Fe, Meow Wolf and several other companies to help provide toys to those in need.

A portion of every transaction fee received by EXIT Realty Corp. International is applied to its charitable fund. Through the Spirit of EXIT Charitable Program, EXIT offices and associates can raise money for local, approved, registered charities and apply to EXIT’s head office to have those funds matched from the company’s pool of funds. The team at EXIT Realty Advantage NM raised an astounding $30,000, with EXIT’s head office $5,000 match they were able to give a total of $35,000 to the Northern NM Toy Drive.

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