Groups aim to make a difference

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer

In honor of Make a Difference Day, two Portales organizations are offering the community a hand, or rather coats and flu prevention kits.

Altrusa International Inc. of Portales is holding a coat drive with the distribution set for Saturday.

Friday, the Community Services Center and its senior programs are providing flu kits to center employees and senior citizens who eat at or volunteer through the center.

Make a Difference Day is Saturday.

For Altrusa, this is the first year for a coat drive.

“Every year we do Make a Difference Day, and this year we choose this to make a difference in our community,” said Frankye King, a member of the group’s community service committee.

She said if the drive goes well, it might become an annual event.

“Now, we want all kinds of coats donated,” King said.

Altrusa is hoping to collect and distribute men’s, women’s and children’s coats of all sizes.

Community Service Committee Chairwoman Vaunceil Turnbough said just more than 20 coats had been collected as of Wednesday afternoon. She was hoping more would come in at the last minute.

Turnbough said her group selected this year’s project because with winter coming and hard economic times, some people might not have the coats they needed. Coat drives seem to go over well, she said.

At the Community Services Center, Retired Senior Volunteers Program Director Phyllis Roybal said the flu kits contain gloves, masks, disposable thermometers, hand wipes, bottled hand sanitizer, packages of tissue and information on pandemic flu. She said the center has 200 kits.

“We just decided to do it because the flu is going around,” Roybal said.

Her program always does an activity for Make a Difference Day, she said.

Foster Grandparents Program Director Monica Calamaco said seniors would receive kits when they came to the meal site to eat from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday. Although staff and senior volunteers would also get the kits, she said the center wasn’t encouraging the public to try to obtain one because there were too few.

Calamaco said the flu kit distribution aims to make people more cautious. Many people, especially senior citizens, don’t have access to the masks and gloves, she said.

Fast Facts

Altrusa coat drive

When: Collection — 9 a.m. to noon, 1-5 p.m. through Friday;

Distribution — 10 a.m to 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Terry L. Cone, C.P.A. office at 118 E. Second St.; collection in main office, distribution in garage off the alley

For Who: Anyone in need of coats