LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) – ‘Keeping brothers and sisters together’ is the motto of El Ranchito de los Ninos, a children’s home located in Los Lunas, dedicated to keeping sibling groups together who might otherwise be separated in foster care. The coronavirus has made it even more difficult to obtain all the materials needed to raise children, which is why Rebels with a Cause set up a contactless-donation drive for the nonprofit.
Rebels with a Cause aims to support the community through supporting local nonprofits. About six years ago, Rebels got involved with the ranch by way of giving the children a Christmas party. “It’s become very near and dear to our hearts, if you see any of our posts or when we talk about them, we call them ‘our kiddos’,” Joseph Gonzales said, spokesperson for Rebels with a Cause. “We really appreciate that Ranchito keeps the kids together after they’ve already been through so much.”
Rebels have made an Amazon wishlist with all of the needed essentials for the organization that can be shipped directly to the children’s home. If people have already purchased the items without putting in the address of the home, volunteers have offered to pick them up in a COVID-safe way.
Executive Director Amy Kendrick said while they are always in need of food, clothing and funds, they especially need those things this year. Due to COVID-19, they weren’t able to hold their regular fundraisers, the funds assist the organization throughout the year. “We always need money, it’s very expensive to raise children, especially 16,” Kindrick said. “We always need cleaning supplies, we always need school supplies, toys, clothes, anything you would need to raise children.”
The home took in seven additional children in 2020 which now brings the total number of children at the home to 16, all under the age of 12. The children are raised as a family in a rural farm setting, taught responsibility and educated as a means of building a foundation and breaking the cycle.
Kindrick said they found that having animals around was therapeutic for the children, many of whom have come from an abusive or negligent home. She said they learn how to care for the animals in a way they might not have experienced care in their own home.
The children are sent to private school in order to keep them up with their studies. “We feel very strongly that our kids need the best education possible. Kids in foster care are often two to three years behind in school, so we put all of our kids in private school because of the smaller class sizes, the one on one attention, they have an easier time catching up,” Kindrick said.
To donate to El Ranchito de los Ninos, visit their website at elranchitonm.org.