By Lance Eaton, Franchisee, EXIT Realty Advantage, NM
Well, the toy drive was an AMAZING success. The Northern NM Toy Drive, presented by EXIT Realty Advantage NM, had our biggest year EVER. This year, because of our partners, our sponsors, our drop off locations, our volunteers, all who shared a post or told someone about us — we were able to help more kids than ever.
Our original goal this year was to raise enough money to provide toys for 1,500 kids through 14 organizations located in northern New Mexico. With support from Los Alamos National Laboratory, EXIT Realty Corp. International and City of Santa Fe, we were able to add more organizations and we upped our goal to 3,000 kids. And yet, the support continued to increase! The drop-off locations were overflowing. Additional partners came on board and additional organizations reach out for support.
In total, the charity collected approximately 2,300 toys and purchased another 2,520 toys with the total donated funds of $53,020 (including EXIT’s match). This is more than 4,820 toys donated to children, with a value of over $105,000! We helped bring cheer to children in more than 20 organizations and over 3,500 children across Northern New Mexico.
There were numerous special moments that touched our hearts. Back in October, Matt Probst, from 100% San Miguel said, “We have 1,000 kids who come to our Christmas event. We’d love to have a gift for each of them.” The charity started with a smaller group of kids identified by the Sheriff’s office who REALLY need help initially. This was a vulnerable group this year with SO many kids impacted by the fires this summer. As the donations continued, they did it! 1,000 toys were delivered to West Las Vegas High School for their distribution party. We are so grateful to our HUGE helper right at the end, Pete Marquez and his family from 411 Equipment, LLC. Matt said something that I want to share. We told him that often people will ask us “How does a toy help? There are so many other things needed.” His answer was simple:
Parents/guardians want to buy their kids/grandkids toys for Christmas. Many times they will do that and skip out on something else — their own food, medicine, gas for the car, certain utilities, etc., in order to try and cover Christmas. So, when we can cover Christmas, they can use the money for other things. It’s important. Your contribution matters in your community.
On our way back from delivering toys to Las Vegas, we got a call from Eastern Navajo Nation Services. They needed last minute help. Let’s go! We delivered two loads of toys to Cuba, NM for their festival and welcomed them as a new benefiting partner. Then, we received a call from a fostering organization in Santa Fe. They didn’t have enough toys. With the help of City of Santa Fe, we were able to collect enough toys throughout the numerous drop-off locations to meet make a Merry Christmas for those kids!
To everyone that attended the Ugly Sweater Party at Bathtub Row Brewing and brought a present, thank you! To everyone who came to the Giving Tree Event at DeVargas Mall, thank you! To all the LANL volunteers that wrapped boxes, sorted presents, and delivered toys to the organizations, thank you! To the Spirit of EXIT Dollar-for-Dollar Matching Program, thank you! Thank you to the City of Santa Fe for making this charity a priority! Thank you for all the donations that allowed us to shop local and reinvest in our communities.
This is how it starts. This is how you change communities.
A portion of every transaction fee received by EXIT Realty Corp. International is applied to its charitable fund. Through the Spirit of EXIT Dollar-for-Dollar Matching 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. Lance and the team hoped to raise $15,000 which EXIT Realty Corp. International was proud to match, but during their Spirit of EXIT initiative they raised $15,312 for a total donation of $30,312 to Northern NM Toy Drive, with thousands more being raised leading up to Christmas.