The holidays often aren't a happy time for some folks. They can amplify whatever financial and personal difficulties they are experiencing. And it can be especially hard on young children. For those in a position to help others this holiday season, the University of New Mexico has organizations and groups throughout campus that ramp up efforts this time of year and coordinate a variety of community outreach opportunities.

UNM Provost Chaouki Abdallah said, "As the holidays approach, we hope everyone at UNM takes the opportunity to give a little something back to the wider communities we serve.”

Giving opportunities abound - below are ways to help.

Roadrunner Food Bank
Staff Council is participating in a community service project benefitting the Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico. They are looking for volunteers: staff, family and friends, for Monday, Dec. 29.

Shifts available are: 8 – 11 a.m.; 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.; and 2 – 4 p.m. To volunteer, email Mark Reynolds at: with your preferred shift(s). RSVP no later than Friday, Dec. 19 at 5 p.m.

The Giving Tree
Giving Trees are located in both the UNM Bookstore and Student Union Building. Staff and students are welcome to take a tag off of the tree and donate the item listed on the tag to a child or family in need. All donations should be unwrapped and delivered to the ASUNM office located in the SUB lower level, room 1016 by Wednesday, Dec. 10 at 5 p.m. For more information, contact ASUNM Community Experience at (505) 277-0106.

Book Drive
Bring an unwrapped children’s book to the Hanging of the Greens, Friday, Dec. 5 where it will be placed underneath the Christmas tree at Hodgin Hall. Books will be donated to the UNM Children’s Hospital.

Also at Hodgin, the Greater Albuquerque Alumni Chapter and UNM Young Alumni will conduct a Toys for Tots drive. Bring new, unwrapped toys for the drive.

Student Affairs Holiday Drive for CLNKids
CLNKids works to ensure homeless children and their families never become homeless again. In addition to helping families with immediate needs – getting a roof over their heads and a meal on their table, they also help them develop the skills necessary to get back on their feet and stay there. The Office of Student Affairs seeks a variety of donations for CLNKids including school supplies and toiletries. The drive is from Wednesday-Thursday, Dec. 3 - 18. There are four drop-off locations: Children’s Campus, Camino de Salud and University; Recreation Services, Johnson Center; Student Affairs, Scholes Hall, second floor; and University Advisement & Enrichment Center, second floor.

Happy Tails for Homeless Pets
UNM Staff Council is holding the Happy Tails Drive for Homeless Pets through Monday, Dec. 15, and is asking the UNM community to support Animal Humane this holiday season with donations such as Milk Bones, bath towels and leashes. Visit Happy Tails for the full wish list.   

UNM Hospitals Holiday Bazaar
UNM Hospitals Holiday Bazaar is set for Friday, Dec. 5 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., on the fourth and fifth floor Ambulatory Care Center lobbies. The event includes a silent auction, day raffle and gently used items for sale. Come by and bid on gift baskets, gift certificates and try your luck on the day raffle item. Proceeds from the bazaar benefit UNM Hospitals. For more information, contact UNM Hospitals Volunteer Office at

Wheels for Meals
Enter a raffle to win a new mountain bike and help stock the local food pantry that cooks Thanksgiving meals for those in need. To enter, bring one Thanksgiving themed canned good or any non-perishable food item to UNM Recreational Services or the UNM Outdoor & Bike Shop in Johnson Center now through Sunday, Nov. 23 and obtain a raffle ticket for the bike. The drawing is Monday, Nov. 24.

The Book Fiesta
Launch a love reading now through Friday, Dec. 12 by donating new and gently used books, backpacks and school supplies for students in grades K-12. The drive is facilitated by the COE Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA). Collection bins are located throughout COE and Health Sciences buildings.

Stay Warm Donation Drive
Help students stay warm this winter by donating new or gently used and laundered items and bring them by the GPSA President's Office now through Friday, Dec. 5. Donation suggestions include clothes, comforters, gloves, jackets, sweaters, hoodies, scarves, ear-warmers, warm hats, etc.