Lighthouse bustles at community Thanksgiving
December 1, 2019
CLOVIS - The Lighthouse Mission was bustling Thanksgiving morning as community members stopped in for a warm meal or dropped by to pick up food for others.
Every Thanksgiving, Lighthouse puts on a community dinner to help ensure no one in the area goes hungry or has to eat alone. For those that can't leave their homes, such as for medical reasons, volunteers grab a meal and deliver it.
Lighthouse invites community members and other local groups to help out, this year partnering with the Salvation Army.
"It's a really good collaboration and I'm expecting us to be able to do more with many collaborations as time goes on," said Lighthouse Director Richard Gomez.
Salvation Army Lt. Maria Ibarra said the Salvation Army had planned to do something similar to the community meal, but decided it would be better to combine efforts with Lighthouse instead of doubling up.
"This community is very nice and it's good we can all work together here," Ibarra said. "I'm amazed how everyone is helping. Whether it's the food here or driving meals to homes. I love this."
Clovis residents Roger and Paula Maddy volunteered to pick up meals and take them to the homes of people who weren't able to come out to the mission.
"We think we need to be doing kingdom work on Thanksgiving Day so we sought it out and found it here," Roger Maddy said. "It's always about providing food for needy people and it's a way to show our thanks."
Raymond Mondragon was in charge of getting meals delivered this year and said Lighthouse had multiple volunteers. By noon, they had delivered 312 meals to 182 homes.
"The appreciation goes to all of our volunteers. This is a record for us; we had all meals delivered by 11:45 a.m. and now people will get to sit down and eat by noon," Mondragon said. "It's comforting to know we have a community of citizens that all want to take the time out to make sure everyone has a meal during Thanksgiving."
Preparing for a meal like this starts months in advance, starting with food donations. From there, the Lighthouse kitchen manager begins cooking and freezing turkey and other items to thaw on the big day. Lighthouse then finds volunteers to make plates and meals or deliver on Thanksgiving Day.
"It's our Christian obligation to help serve other people. We have fun doing it, too," Gomez said.
Gary Enger stopped by to eat after having just returned home from an out-of-town trip with his wife, who had also come down with a cold, preventing them from making an elaborate dinner at home.
The Harrison family traveled from Artesia to visit their relative Susan Solt and were welcomed to come by for a meal during their visit.
"It's awesome. You don't see a lot of communities with a support system like this. You don't find it in many other towns," Solt said.