Snow and cold kept attendance low at the Veterans Day ceremony along Allegan's riverfront, but it should be much warmer at the church luncheon. (Photo by Ryan Lewis)

Immanuel Lutheran thanks veterans with free luncheon

By: 
Ryan Lewis, Editor

This Veterans Day, the congregants at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Allegan will continue a proud tradition.

Their Veterans Day luncheon will be at noon, following the ceremony at the Allegan Veterans Memorial along Allegan’s riverfront at 11 a.m.

Volunteer church secretary Pam Hopkins said, “We’ve been doing it for several years now. This will be our fourth.”

Hopkins said it was important to honor veterans and those serving in the military.

“So many risked their lives for our country,” she said. “This is kind of a way we can show our gratitude to them.”

The traditional-style holiday meal will be a pork loin with all the trimmings.

The meal is free to United States military veterans of any war, active duty service members, and their spouses or significant others. No reservations are required.

The meal is cosponsored by Immanuel Lutheran Church and Thrivent Financial, whose members can apply for grants to fund local, community events.

“Thrivent funds what has enabled our small congregation to do things we otherwise wouldn’t be able to do,” Hopkins said.

She said more than 100 now attend the annual meal, which begins with a prayer.

“It’s wonderful; they’re so appreciative of the fact they’re being recognized,” Hopkins said. “There’s a lot of socializing that goes on.

“It’s quite an event to see.”

This isn’t the only meal the church organizes. Its annual Christmas meal for the students of Allegan Alternative High School is very similar.

“We serve more than 110 at that—it’s the same appreciative attitude from those students.”

This year’s will be Dec. 19 and is designed to give the students the experience of a large, sit-down, formal meal.

For more information about the Veterans Day luncheon, call the church office at (269) 673-3335. The church is at 631 Grand St., Allegan.

Veterans looking to continue find fellowship are also invited to attend the church’s “Coffee for Veterans.”

It is a free event on the second Tuesday of each month from 9 to 11 a.m.

It is designed for all veterans and those still serving in the military to share conversation and enjoy free coffee, donuts and cinnamon rolls.

Hopkins said the group varies but averages eight to 10 veterans.

The idea to host a coffee time for men and women veterans evolved after noticing a few veterans gathering over coffee at Allegan’s former Red Cross building. After the building became unsafe for use, church members stepped in to provide a meeting place.

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

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