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Community Volunteer Program still helping those in need

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Volunteers Jim Ridgeway, right, and Josiah Paredes, center, help distribute Thanksgiving food baskets Nov. 20 at St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 505 N. Pennsylvania Ave. The Gonzales family’s Community Volunteer Program gave out items for a Thanksgiving meal to about 60 people. (Submitted Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

The word “no” is not in Mary Gonzales’ vocabulary.

“No is not an option. It’s never in God’s vocabulary, either,” she said.

And so, even though Gonzales, her grandchildren and volunteers handed out about 60 Thanksgiving dinner baskets last week, she has been taking time this week to help people still reaching out for help with food. She’ll be delivering some meals prepared by herself and another woman to people in need.

Next week, though, she will turn her attention to her Community Volunteer Program’s annual Christmas toy drive.

Those in need of a toy for a child or who want to donate can contact the Gonzales family at 575-624-7579.

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Gonzales said she will be partnering with Forever Free Fellowship Church in Artesia, which also does a large toy drive each year, to reciprocate for help from its pastors, Sally and Alfredo Carrera.

“We help each other is what we do. They were here for the Thanksgiving dinner. They came down to help me,” she said.

Gonzales said she and her late husband, Johnny, started their charitable giving because they knew what it was like to need help.

“I’ve been in that poverty level. God pulled me out, so we did a lot, my husband and I, and I love it. I just love it,” she said.

Volunteers for the Thanksgiving food basket giveaway included Josiah Paredes, Nathaniel Paredes, Mariah Martinez, Jonathan Martinez and Malena Martinez.

Food donations were from Jim Ridgeway, Anderson Bethany Funeral Home, Susi Welch and Kelly Smith.

Monetary donations for the food baskets were from Mark McClellan, Judy Armstrong, Linda and Jed Dill, Leo Gonzales Jr., Lupe Marquez, Roy Saiz, Monte and Denise Baker, Church on the Move, Alfredo and Sally Carrera, Virgie Perez and Paul Longmire.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.