Nominations sought for Starlit Night & Bethel Express

Santa put the Moriarty Civic Center on his itinerary last year for the first Starlit Night event. He is confirmed for this year's event, too. Photo by Leota Harriman.

Organizers for an event called Starlit Night and Bethel Express are seeking nominations from the community for people who are facing exceptional circumstances during the holiday season.

The event’s organizers include this reporter.

The Starlit Night will include a food drive for Bethel Storehouse, but the heart of the event is a Christmas dinner and gifts for the families who are chosen.

Starlit Night “isn’t just about poverty,” according to Danny Strode, one of the event’s organizers. The idea is to take the pressure of the holiday season off those families who are chosen.

Strode gave the example of a young man who is married with small children. Two of the children have medical issues that the family just found out about. That kind of “circumstances beyond their control” is what the event hopes to alleviate for Christmas.

At last year’s event, 13 families were nominated. A committee was set up to select 10 families, but in the end, the committee decided to help all 13 families, about 85 people altogether. This year, the group hopes to help 100 people.

“We want to offer hope, a leg up, when things and circumstances look grim,” Strode said. “Giving is a wonderful thing and it satisfies one’s soul. Celebration brings great joy when love is expressed to others.”

Organizers of the event are looking for people who give back into the community to be nominated. To make a nomination, contact The Independent at 505-286-1212 or leota@lobo.net, or mail your nomination to P.O. Box 1056, Edgewood, NM 87015. Nomination forms are available from The Independent, or from Southwest Propane, which can be reached at paula@southwestpropane.org.

To learn more about the event, or how to nominate a family, visit our event page on Facebook called, “Starlit Night & Bethel Express.”

In addition to the families who will get what Strode calls a “Christmas blessing,” the event will be a food drive for Bethel Storehouse, with a train theme.

Business locations that will be acting as food drops for Bethel include The Independent, Southwest Propane, Harris-Hanlon Mortuary, Affordable Arrangements, Sign Source Plus, Dr. Stevens Dentistry, East Mountain Physical Therapy, KXNM Radio, and other locations around the area.

The event itself will be held Dec. 10 at the Moriarty Civic Center, starting at 6 p.m.; it will include a Christmas carol singalong and other music, along with a free dinner. Organizers ask that those attending bring a non-perishable food item for Bethel Community Storehouse, however, the event is free and open to the public.