By Gabriel Monte: Freedom New Mexico
The gymnasium at the New Mexico Christian Children’s home buzzed Saturday with the anticipation that usually occurs during Christmas Day.
Gift-wrapped toys, clothes and other items donated by Cannon Air Force Base personnel sat in a corner inside the building.
“The gifts are the grand finale to everything,” said 14-year-old Jared Cannon, who received a Randy Moss jersey as a present.
Before they could open their presents, the children performed several musical numbers for their guests.
About 25 Cannon Air Force Base personnel and their families attended the program.
The gift-drive was part of the Cannon Air Force Base Family Support Center’s Angels in Blue program, where base personnel donate gifts to children in facilities such as the New Mexico Christian Children’s Home and the Baptist Children’s Home, according to Yolanda Infante of the 27th Special Operations Medical Group.
She said the children’s home sends her a Christmas list from the children, then an airman selects a child to sponsor and tries to fulfill the list.
“It’s just our way to show the kids we love them and we want them to have a good Christmas, no matter what’s taking place in their lives,” she said.
The home takes over care of children if their parents are unable, according to Executive Director Charles Anderson.
“The kids are often amazed that people want to help them that don’t even know them,” he said. “We’ve heard that from kids over the years several times.”
He said all 56 of the home’s children received a present.
This is the first year Senior Airman Wesley Carter participated in the program.
“In the end when you see their faces and how happy they are, it’s all worth it,” he said as Christian Murvin, 9, showed his friends the Lincoln Log toy set he received from Carter.
Lt. Col. Kim Bradley of the 27th SOS Medical Group said the program serves a segment of the community that is sometimes overlooked.
“We have to take good care of our children if we want good citizens for tomorrow,” she said.