Congratulations on surviving another semester, fellow Lobos. This winter break, let’s give back to those that supported us and other communities that may have helped us through stressful times.

Volunteering — getting started may be the hardest part about it.

You have to take into consideration where you want to volunteer. Which begs the question of what you would be doing and for how long. I can’t answer the last two questions for you, but I can provide a couple places to volunteer. Some locations are places I’ve volunteered at, years ago, but I hope they serve as a launching point to give back this holiday season.

Storehouse New Mexico - Albuquerque Food Pantry

At New Mexico’s largest food pantry, Storehouse New Mexico offers free food to struggling families, individuals and even pets. According to the 2017 annual report, “the Storehouse provided nearly 1.4 million meals to individuals, families, children, and seniors who rely on us for food.”

Almost half of the donations received by Storehouse NM were from individual contributions.

Individual and group volunteers can donate their time at 106 Broadway Blvd SE from Wednesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Volunteers can also come in on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., however hours change during the holidays, so call ahead at (505) 842-6491.

Watermelon Mountain Ranch

You’ve probably seen them with dog kennels during their mobile adoption events in front of Petsmart or in other places in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho. The Watermelon Mountain Ranch (WMR) is a no-kill animal shelter that helps find homes for animals “throughout New Mexico as well as southern Texas and Juarez, Mexico.” According to their website, the WMR has helped find homes for over 150,000 animals.

Volunteers can donate their time in the WMR office, during mobile pet adoptions, public speaking events, doing “handyman” work at the ranch, or working with the cats and dogs.

Volunteers can go to the WMR, at 3251 Westphalia Blvd NE on the second and fourth Saturday of each month at 12 p.m. to take a tour of the ranch and learn about volunteer opportunities. WMR can be reached at (505) 771-0140.

The Roadrunner Food Bank

Located at 5840 Office Blvd NE, the Roadrunner Food Bank distributes more than 30 million pounds of food a year to partner agencies and other food banks in the region. According to their website, their vision is “to permanently end hunger in New Mexico.”

Volunteers should go to their website and fill out the appropriate forms before volunteering. Volunteer times at the warehouse are on Mondays from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

PB&J Family Services

This nonprofit organization helps create positive, supporting environments within families and communities. Volunteers would facilitate events, clean toys for children, transport children and help teach in classroom settings. Volunteers can learn more at their website or email for more info.

To find more volunteer opportunities in New Mexico, follow this link.

Anthony Jackson is photo editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted by email at or on Twitter @TonyAnjackson.