Business Women of Valencia County needing donations for seniors

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Many elders on fixed incomes go without basic necessities and food items most people take for granted.

May is National Older American month and the Business Women of Valencia County are geared up for their 10th annual fundraiser and donation drive for local senior citizens.

All during the month of May, community members and businesses will be donating nonperishable food and toiletries to help Valencia County seniors. To kick off the effort, members of the BWVC will be stationed at Walmart, both the Los Lunas and Belen on Saturday, May, 3.

They will be collecting nonfood items, such as laundry detergent, fabric softener, facial tissue, body lotion, paper towels, hand soap, socks, and lap blankets, as well as nonperishable foods including canned meats, canned fruit and vegetables, low sodium soups, whole grain pasta, bread, cereal, crackers, oatmeal, peanut butter, nutrition shakes, and fruit juices.

Every penny and every donated item will go directly to the most needy senior citizens in the county, said Nan Ziegler, BWVC chairman of the senior needs program.

Many of the recipients are in the Meals-on-Wheels program, coordinated by Jose Campos, the director of the Valencia County Older Americans program. His staff will deliver the donated goods to individual seniors and get the right mix of goods and products to them.

"Charity begins in your own backyard, and we need to be more charitable to our seniors," Ziegler said. "They're the glue that binds families and communities (together)."

Some businesses are already taking donations for the effort. They include Health Quest Chiropractic, 155 Bosque Farms Blvd. in Bosque Farms; New Mexico Bank and Trust, 1810 Main Street NW in Los Lunas; the Graphic Art Station, 785 Main Street SW in Los Lunas; Sandia Self Storage, 19461 N.M. 314 in Belen; and the Belen Senior Center, 715 S. Main Suite A.

More help from local businesses is needed. Between the recession, federal, state and local budget cuts to senior programs and food prices going up, seniors on fixed incomes are having to do without important necessities, Ziegler said.

Employees of larger businesses might like to chip in to buy laundry soap one week, socks another, canned meat the next, she said.

"Valencia County should show its appreciation for its seniors," Ziegler said. "They are the backbone. They've gone through it, they've seen it, they've heard it … we forget about our seniors."

The goal is to fill 300 bags with nonperishable foods and 300 baskets with personal-care items. Some of the items generally in short supply are the pricier items, such as canned meats, laundry soap, nutrition drinks, as well as lap blankets, socks and lotion.

By Friday, May 30, the BWVC will have collected all the goods and monetary donations, and stored them at Sandia Self Storage. Then on Saturday, May 31, everything is taken to the Belen Senior Center to be dispersed through the Meals-on-Wheels program all over the county.

"We put a card from who it's from in the bag, and we get the most heartfelt letters and notes and phone calls," Ziegler said. "We let them know, all the donations came from your fellow Valencia residents, so they know it's from Valencia County."

Businesses interested in joining the effort should call Nan Ziegler at 866-0798. Monetary donations can be mailed to the Business Women of Valencia County, PO Box 3499, Los Lunas, NM, 87031, or go by Leigh Van Gilst CPA and Associates (behind Los Lunas Fire Department on Main Street) at 121A Don Diego SE in Los Lunas.


-- Email the author at dfox@news-bulletin.com.