ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Families had the opportunity to walk amongst a forest of dazzling Christmas trees, and all for a good cause. The Festival of Trees is one of the Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation’s primary fundraising events. The hospital is the only juvenile rehabilitation hospital in New Mexico for kids and teens with permanent disabilities.

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The Festival of Trees was able to return this year after halting for a year due to COVID-19. Executive Director of the foundation Connie Chavez said this year’s fundraiser is especially important since they were not able to fundraise last year.

“These events, especially now after we’ve had this global pandemic where the need is even greater than before, it’s a need that doesn’t go away,” Chavez said. “The funds we gather here at this event this weekend will help to make up for the year and a half that we were not able to have events to help support our families and our children.”

Oftentimes families can’t afford some of the equipment needed for Carrie Tingley patients. “We help to fill that gap so our kiddos can feel as normal as possible to be able to play, whether it’s on an adaptive bike or even just take a bath on an adaptive chair so it’s easier for them and their families,” Chavez said.

Christmas trees were donated from the community and could be purchased, the funds from which would go directly to the foundation. Tony Ramirez serves on the Carrie Tingley Foundation board of directors and says that as a former patient of Carrie Tingley himself, the funds raised will be put to good use. “This helps us to be able to fund some of the programs that we do. One hundred percent of the proceeds go back to help fund the programs,” Ramirez said.

Amy Ball said the programs offered by the foundation helped her daughter Silence get to socialize with other children her own age. “Events like the Festival of Trees provide the opportunity for children like Silence to go to camp. She just has the opportunity to be with everyone and have those social experiences that she wouldn’t otherwise or might not otherwise,” Ball said.

The event closes out its final day on Sunday afternoon, with open admission for visitors. For more information, visit the Festival of Trees website.