Zurehmi Delacruz played the part of Santa to hand out the gifts at the second annual Christmas Dinner in Pullman. Above, she’s handing a bag to Aniyah Sandoval of Pullman. Aniyah’s sister Janelle Santillan stands at right and behind them is Evelyn Hernandez of Allegan. (Photo by Ryan Lewis)

Tradition of free Christmas dinner, gifts, continues in Pullman

By: 
Ryan Lewis, Editor

(CORRECTED) Hundreds from the Pullman community turned out for a free Christmas dinner Saturday, Dec. 22, at the Marathon gas station and grocery store.

It was the second year in a row managers Manjit Singh and wife Angelica Delacruz contributed and gathered donations for the event along with community organizer Carlos Lopez.

After a similar event for Thanksgiving, Singh said he had been looking forward to the dinner—as had the community.

“Oh, yeah, I’d hear from people all the time,” he said, as a result of the first dinner they did in 2017. “We’ve gotten calls all day today.”

Each child received a wrapped gift; there were 360 this year, provided by Christian Neighbors in Douglas and some private donations. A free raffle also gave out 20 gift cards and some turkeys to some lucky guests.

Marie Arems of Grand Junction said this event was wonderful because there wasn’t much else like it for people in Pullman, compared to the larger cities such as Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids.

Plus, having organized gatherings near her home for senior citizens for 10 years, she knows how difficult it can be to offer something like this on a temporary basis.

“There are so many rules,” Arems said. “There’s tons of hoops to jump through.”

Signh’s Marathon, which already has a food preparation and serving area, alleviates a lot of that.

Arems said, “This is the perfect place for it. You also need a ton of volunteers”—something she credits Lopez for helping make happen. “This event is so necessary and great. Carlo bends over backward to help those in need.”

Lopez said an entire Holland family, the Snoeinks, volunteered with others. He also thanked Singh and his family for all their hard work for the event.

Contact Ryan Lewis at rmlewis@allegannews.com or (269) 673-5534.

 

Editor’s note: This story contained several errors when it printed in the Dec. 27, 2018, issue. It misidentified Carlos Lopez’s title; he is listed correctly above, having resigned from the Pullman Linking Center last spring. The continuation of the story was omitted. The gifts' donors have also been corrected. The Allegan County News regrets these errors.

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