Making the holidays bright

BCBSNM employees provide meaningful holiday gifts for families in the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program.

Thirteen-year-old Ajah tried on her brand-new ballet shoes and stood on her toes. Ajah and her grandmother Theresa were one of the 41 families who received holiday gifts from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) employees’ Adopt-a-Family gift drive in 2017.

“I’m excited to use the ballet shoes,” Ajah said. “I’m getting the things that we can’t really afford, and I’m really happy and thankful for that.”

For the third year, employees provided gifts for New Mexico families in the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program. Families are identified by three local agencies that work directly with grandparents — Outcomes, Inc., Pegasus Legal Services for Children, and Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) Family Outreach.

Tamie Gregg of MCH Family Outreach said that the holidays can bring added stress for grandparents who are raising their grandkids. “Many grandparents are barely making ends meet as it is,” Gregg said. The Adopt-a-Family gift delivery, Gregg explained, “adds a lot of joy.”

Every year, employee teams “adopt” families. Each family member completes a wish list, which helps the teams provide meaningful presents for both the children and adults. Leading up to the holidays, employees organize a variety of activities to raise money to purchase gifts. In 2017, fundraisers included a cake walk, a homemade posole sale and a gift wrapping station, among other efforts. Staff members also contributed personal donations and gifts.

“We wanted to give back to the community,” said Theresa Teeter, a BCBSNM team captain whose group adopted three families. As a grandparent herself, Teeter said that the initiative is “dear to my heart.”

I'm getting the things that we can't really afford, and I'm really happy and thankful for that.

Once fundraising is complete and gifts have been collected, teams hold wrapping parties to adorn each present with brightly colored paper, bows and ribbons.

All efforts lead up to a special delivery day when families come together to unwrap gifts and spend time with employees.

“It helps us out a lot,” said Beverley, a grandmother who attended the event with her grandchildren. “We’re very grateful.”

As BCBSNM employee Michelle Martinez put it, “We just want to bring them joy.”

Watch our video of the gift delivery.