Lighthouse Mission needs summer kids’ meal volunteers

Freedom New Mexico: Janet Bresenham Lighthouse Mission director Richard Gomez is looking for volunteers to help provide a summer breakfast program for about 50 area children on Saturday mornings. Gomez hopes to offer children food, as well as a time of Bible-based lessons and activities.

By Janet Bresenham: Freedom New Mexico

Lighthouse Mission director Richard Gomez knows there are children who don’t have enough food to eat on summer weekends.

He said he has a big kitchen and enough food donations to provide a Saturday morning breakfast program for those children in Clovis.

What he needs now are enough adult volunteers to help cook and serve the breakfast every Saturday during the summer.

Without those extra helpers, however, Gomez said he won’t be able to offer the program at all this summer.

“The thing isn’t feeding the people because we have the food and the facilities here at the mission to prepare the food,” Gomez said. “The thing is I can’t do it by myself. I need more help to do it. We get a lot of kids coming in who are hungry on the weekends during the summer.”

Gomez said he has put notices for three months in the Lighthouse Mission’s monthly newsletter about the need for summer Saturday meal volunteers, but there has been no response from the community.

While various teams of cooks and servers could alternate Saturday mornings, Gomez said he is looking for one person who will be responsible to be there every Saturday during the summer and lead the program by preparing the Bible study lessons and coordinating fun activities for the kids.

“The weekend is when we are concerned about some kids not having enough food,” Gomez said. “During the school year, kids get two meals at school. In the summer, they can go to the summer lunch program Monday through Friday.”

The Lighthouse Mission, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary in November, began the summer Saturday breakfast program for kids in need three years ago.

During the summers of 2005 and 2006, an average of 50 children came to the Lighthouse Mission for breakfast and activities, Gomez said. Each child also was given food to take home, such as fruit or cereal.

Gomez said he had to cancel the program last year because he simply did not have enough adult volunteer help.

Lighthouse Mission receptionist Marcos Urban Jr., who supervises the weekday breakfast and lunch program throughout the year, said he also depends on volunteers from churches, Cannon Air Force Base and other groups to help cook and serve.

“We have some wonderful volunteers who help us out regularly as ‘missionaries for a day’ to prepare and serve the meals,” Urban said. “I know the people who eat here really appreciate the volunteers, because sometimes that meal might be the only source of food they have that day. You can see the smiles on their faces and know how much those meals mean to them.”