Two Albuquerque locals have set up a Christmas tree display downtown all to benefit the local chapter of Feeding Pets of the Homeless. Organizers Ed Candelaria and Marq Smith have set up 17 of their own Christmas trees at the corner of Gold and 2nd St. which are visible for people driving or walking past the window displays. Each of the 17 trees has its own unique theme and in the lower corner of the window is a QR code where people can scan it on their phone and will be taken to the Go Fund Me page set up for the event.
For the past four years, Candelaria and Smith have had an open house at their home where people could view all the trees and drop off food donations that would go to local pet owners in need. “We have such a love for animals that it kills us every time we go to a street corner and you see a homeless person out in the street and their only companion is their pet,” Smith said.
Candelaria said each year they’ve done this, it’s grown. “Every time we have a drive and drop off items at the VCA [Veterinary Care Animal Hospital], they’re shocked,” Candelaria said. “We fill up their hallway with everything we get whether it’s beds or blankets, food, toys.”
They’re hoping for even more donations this year, as it was difficult financially for everyone, especially for those without a home. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in December, Candelaria and Smith have been at the tree display accepting donations of new or used items.
On the weekend before Christmas, they will take the money that was donated through the Go Fund Me page and will purchase additional items to donate. Pet food donations will be taken to a food bank, soup kitchen, homeless shelter or to the streets by the donation site.
Smith said even if people aren’t able to donate, they can hopefully find some Christmas cheer as they pass by the displays. “This is a way we can give back to the community because even if they don’t donate, they can still drive by or walk by and it’s like the old Macy windows on Fifth Ave. where you can just stop and stare at these trees for hours,” Smith said.
In addition to donating, Candelaria said viewers can make a game out of guessing what the theme of each tree is. If no one can figure it out, someone can scan the QR code in front of each tree and get the answer. Zia Pet Hospital, Aztec Animal Clinic, VCA Wyoming Animal Hospital and ABQ Pet Care Animal Hospital are the four drop-off locations in Albuquerque participating in the Feeding Pets of the Homeless program.
Article Source: KRQE
Photo Source: Unsplash
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