FARMINGTON — Try this at work. Give you office's secret Santa presents to a good cause.

That's what two neighboring businesses on N. Orchard Avenue like to do every December.

Each year, Silver Oak Mortgage teams up with San Juan Title to make sure needy kids have a present to open on Christmas.

The two businesses spend the rest of the year helping people purchase homes and properties.

Silver Oak has a tree in its lobby adorned with the names of children who live at nearby Navajo Ministries' Four Corners Home for Children.

"Every holiday season, our employees donate $20 each, pool it together and buy gifts," said Laura Lujan, a closing coordinator at San Juan Title. "It feels so much better to spread a little holiday cheer to kids who might not see a gift otherwise."

The two businesses have been working to add a little extra cheer to the Navajo Ministries' kids for more than seven years, Lujan said.

Karen Broten, who works for the Four Corners Foundation in the same building as Silver Oak, witnessed the spectacle of staff from San Juan Title bursting through the door Thursday, bells ringing, arms loaded with gifts.

"They were bearing stacks and stacks of wrapped gifts for children who live at the Four Corners," she said. "It was touching to see that kind of enthusiasm for giving back to the community."

Jim Baker has served as president of Navajo Ministries for 37 years. His organization currently has a full house of children - 24 - from an infant brought in last week to teenagers.


"Each year, the Silver Oak folks ask us for a list of our kids, including the age of each child, so they can purchase appropriate-age gifts," Baker said. "It brightens our day when they do."

Beverly Bixler, loan originator at Silver Oak, admits to developing a special attachment to the kids.

"We see a lot of the same names each year, only the ages change," Bixler said. "And every January the kids send us the most touching, handmade cards as thanks."

Baker said that since the recession, the number of neglected and abused children he sees has risen sharply.

"I have been at this a long time and I have never seen these kinds of numbers of kids needing help," he said. "We had to turn away 24 recently."

Many of the children are referred to Navajo Nation social services in Shiprock, Baker said.

"It would be nice to hear more and more kids are thought of," Bixler said. "Helping others is the point of the holidays, right?"