ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Girls Scouts of New Mexico Trails are helping Make-A-Wish to reach $1 million in donations to help grant wishes for children battling critical illness in the state. Since 2008, Macy’s and Make-A-Wish have teamed up to bring joy with an annual letter-writing campaign.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s letter-writing campaign had to shift to a COVID-friendly procedure and Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails stepped up to help keep this holiday tradition alive. For every letter Macy’s receives, they will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish.

Each of the organizations encourages children of all ages to write a letter to Santa in support of granting wishes for children battling critical illnesses in New Mexico. Girl Scout Angelica Barbero said she enjoyed writing the letters because she got to do them with her little sister. “It was really fun writing our letters together, decorating them and putting them on fancy paper,” Barbero said.

She used this experience as a way to help her younger sister think from the perspective of the kids in the Make-A-Wish program. “She asked for a play kitchen set and I asked her why she wanted it. She said she wanted it because all her friends had one and she felt left out and I told her that’s probably how some of these kids felt too,” Barbero said.

“People think being in Girl Scouts is just about selling cookies but it’s not, it’s about giving back to the community and that’s why we did this.”

Lyla sanchez, girl scout

Others, like sixth grader Lyla Sanchez, asked for COVID-19 to end. “Looking at all these people that it affected, it’s really heartbreaking,” Sanchez said. “Some kids don’t have families to go to and schools are closed, so I hope schools can open so they can see their friends.”

To these girls, being a Girl Scout means supporting their community and giving back to it when they can. “People think being in Girl Scouts is just about selling cookies,” Sanchez said. “But it’s not, it’s about giving back to the community and that’s why we did this.”

Lily Lindley wanted to keep her letters, and her attitude positive. “I just wrote about simple things in life that are going on for me, just happy things, nothing sad. We want to keep spirits up,” Lindley said.

Hailey Gonzalez said to raise more money for Make-A-Wish, she wrote letters from the perspective of her pets in addition to her own. “We wrote for a hermit crab,” Gonzalez said with a chuckle. “We decorated it with a palm tree that had Christmas ornaments on it.”

In addition to writing letters, middle school student Liala Garley’s troupe plans to visit local animal shelters and donate pet supplies. “It’s great being a Girl Scout because it means you get to help so many different people. We get to be there for everyone because you never know when they’re going to need it,” Garley said.

To submit a virtual letter or find a drop-off location, visit the Macy’s website to get started.

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