.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

LANL employees brighten season more than ever

-A A +A
By Carol A. Clark

Santa Claus and his biker helpers gathered at Los Alamos National Laboratory's Community Programs Office (CPO) Thursday to celebrate the end of the lab's annual Holiday Drive. This year, breaking all previous records, more than 1,200 children, seniors and families will have a brighter holiday thanks to the ever increasing generosity of LANL employees and organizations.“Everyone has been so generous, they’ve put the happy back in happy holidays,” CPO Acting Director Johnnie Martinez said as he helped employees load the trucks. “We could not have done all this alone, we partnered with our LANL community contractors, business partners and others to reach this amazing level of giving.”Martinez’ office coordinates the yearly holiday giving program, which includes the collection of toys, clothes and nonperishable food items and an Adopt-a-Family component for northern New Mexico residents.During the last few weeks, LANL employees and organizations selected tags from Christmas trees, purchased Adopt-a-Family gifts and placed them in collection boxes located around the lab. Family sizes range from two to 10 members, said Steve Sandoval of LANL’s public affairs office. Those adopting families also provided food for their adopted families’ holiday meal.“Given the budget uncertainty that laboratory employees are having to work with, employees have been incredibly generous,” Sandoval said.The Holiday Drive is conducted in cooperation with the San Martin de Porres Soup Kitchen, New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department, and the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department, all of which provide assistance to individuals and families in Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Santa Fe, Taos, Mora, and San Miguel counties, as well as other northern New Mexico areas.Adelante, a program for homeless students in the Santa Fe Public School district and Self Help, a crisis intervention and advocacy program serving Los Alamos, Rio Arriba and Taos counties, partnered with the CPO to assist the families.“More than 160 families have been adopted through the Adopt-a-Family program,” Sandoval said. “One hundred of those families were in Santa Fe; the other 60 in Los Alamos and Española. “Prior to Thanksgiving, as part of the Holiday Drive, we did a “Take a Turkey to Work Day” program to provide a Thanksgiving meal to families in need in the area.” Sandoval added that on Nov. 20, LANL employees brought in 440 turkeys and more than 9,000 pounds of nonperishable food items. The frozen turkeys and food items were taken to San Martin de Porres Soup Kitchen in Española for distribution to the needy families, he said.A couple of LANL organizations also sponsored their own giving efforts outside of the Holiday Drive. Acquisition Services Management Division sponsored a “Thanks4Giving” program and collected more than 3,000 pounds of non-perishable food items for distribution to needy families in northern New Mexico. Employees in that group also made monetary donations to purchase complete Thanksgiving dinners for these families, Sandoval said.And the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center, for the 10th year, sponsored its “100 Special Children” program to purchase toys and clothes for needy children. This year, 107 children will be receiving gifts through this program.