On Nov. 30, 2018, the students of Hillrise Elementary School held their fourth annual “Blessing Bag Donation Drive.” Every student participated, distributing more than 180 bags which were assembled by students for people currently homeless in the Las Cruces community.

Students from Hillrise Elementary School prepare Blessing Bags to donate to the homeless residents of Las Cruces served by the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope

Each year, students from Hillrise and their families generously help to collect hygiene products such as, soap, shampoo, socks, toothpaste, toothbrushes and other items, which they donate to the homeless. The charity drive began four years ago when a student at Hillrise expressed a desire to help those with little to no resources. With the help of students from the Engaging Latino Communities for Education (ENLACE) program at Mayfield High School, the first-grade students at Hillrise were able to complete approximately 75 bags that first year.

Students from Hillrise Elementary School and students from the ENLACE Program at Mayfield High School finish assembling Blessing Bags for the homeless. 2018 marked the fourth year of the community service project.

“Over the years, there has been a gradual increase in the number of Blessing Bags we have been able to make, and this year we assembled more than 180 bags,” said Hillrise Principal Karin Hite. “Our first grade students and teachers would like to thank the students, staff, and parents of Hillrise for their generous donations, our wonderful custodians for preparing the cafeteria for the event, and David Morales and the ENLACE students of Mayfield for working with us on this worthy service project.”

Once donations are gathered, ENLACE students assist the first-graders in preparing the bags. The Blessing Bags are then donated to the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope.

“The fact that this donation drive stemmed from a student who had a desire to help those less fortunate in our community is a blessing in itself,” said Superintendent Greg Ewing. “Four years later, this great service project has touched even more students and is helping even more people than ever before. We are proud of everyone at Hillrise Elementary and Mayfield High School for their caring support and generous donations to people who need it most in our community.”

— Samantha Lewis, LCPS Public Relations Coordinator, 575-527-5946, slewis@lcps.net