BELEN — Santa made a visit to the Belen Senior Center last week to spread some holiday cheer.

“Every year now, for the holidays, we try to do something street-side,” Lydia Maldonado, the Belen Senior Center operations manager, told the News-Bulletin on Dec. 22. “So, that’s what we are doing today.”

Maldonado and client service representative Melissa Martinez  gathered, wrapped and handed out more than 95 presents to Belen senior citizens as they came to get their sack lunches, just ahead of Christmas.

A large inflatable Santa Claus bounced in the New Mexican sun outside the center as members of the Senior Olympics line danced to Christmas music as people drove by picking up their food and gifts.

“(The seniors) are just so happy,” Maldonado said. “They are like, ‘Oh, thank you for doing this,’ and they are high-fiving and knuckles. It just reminds me that it is the season, it is Christmas.”

Halloween was the first holiday the center took outside, handing out hand sanitizer, masks and — of course— candy to the seniors passing through.

Depending on how the trajectory of the pandemic goes over the course of the next year, Maldonado hopes for a return to normalcy in 2022, with dances in lieu of the street-side festivities, but will play it by ear.

What’s your Reaction?
+1
2
+1
0
+1
2
+1
0
+1
0
+1
0

Makayla Grijalva was born and raised in Las Cruces. She is a 2020 graduate of The University of New Mexico, where she studied multimedia journalism, political science and history. She covers the village of Los Lunas, Los Lunas Schools, SODA and the town of Peralta.