The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Christmas staple

Lighthouse Mission serves more than 150 across community


December 26, 2018

Kevin Wilson

From left, volunteers John Bross, Cathy Fury and Alin Toews prepare plates for the Lighthouse Mission's Christmas lunch.

CLOVIS - The lunch that's been a staple of Christmas days at the Lighthouse Mission was not overly complicated as meals go - a slice of ham, big spoonfuls of mashed potatoes and green beans, a roll with a pat of butter and a slice of pumpkin pie.

It's the things that aren't visible on the plate - faith, love and second chances - that made the meal memorable for many of the mission's visitors.

The free Christmas meal, served every year for the 16 years the mission has been housed at its current building on L Casillas Boulevard, had gotten food to about 150 people by noon, with more than an hour to go.

Executive Director Richard Gomez, sneaking a roll and slice of ham for himself, said there were plenty of volunteers and food.

"With the food we have, we'll be serving this for lunch tomorrow," Gomez said.

The meal is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., but the doors opened at 10:30 with the food ready to go and a line already forming at the door.

"We feed them until they're full," Gomez said. "Seconds, thirds, whatever they want."

Plenty of volunteers were shuffling about the center, preparing plates and making sure everybody was taken care of.

"It's just a way to help out," volunteer Delvin Benny said just after pulling another tray of rolls from the oven. This is Benny's first time helping during Christmas, but he's volunteered the last two Thanksgiving meals at the mission.

Much of the noon crowd had finished their meals long before and were just chatting and enjoying each other's company. Josh Hyslop of Tucumcari and Joseph Jaramillo of Albuquerque are both spending time at Lighthouse's 243-acre Freedom Ranch as they go through a recovery program. Hyslop said he is seven months into the program.

"It's the opposite of the saying, 'Bad company corrupts good character,'" Hyslop said.

Jaramillo, three weeks into the program, said the program helped him show a path through God.

"This is the best Christmas I've had," Jaramillo said. "I've been sober with my family for the first time."

Gomez said there were 22 people - 17 men, five women - in the addiction recovery trying to just get better every day.

"They'll be sober on New Year's for the first time in years, too," Gomez said with a smile.


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