Hundreds get free Thanksgiving meal at Pullman gas station

PULLMAN, Mich. -- A gas station in one West Michigan community became the place to be this Thanksgiving, all thanks to a group of people who decided to pay it forward.

Pullman is a small town, but the station's operators expected around 500 people to come through their doors throughout the day.

This wasn't your typical gas station meal. The Marathon Gas Station was home to a full turkey dinner with all the fixings. For this town, it was about more than just a meal.

"We're at the Marathon Gas Station in Pullman having a Thanksgiving meal for the less fortunate and for other people who don't have a place to go," said Carlos Lopez, executive director of the People Helping People Linking Center.

Between racks of chips and candy, table after table was set up for hungry guests.

"It feels good," said organizer Ed Walle. "I feel wonderful about doing this."

Walle is the mastermind behind the dinner, hoping to provide free meals for hundreds of people. He says it's all about giving back to his community.

"We were just sitting here thinking about what we could do," said Walle. "We put it together and it made sense. This is a needy community and Thanksgiving is a time when families should be together. We thought we could help do it and create something that was good for the community."

It wouldn't have been possible without volunteers and people such as Lopez, who not only runs the local nonprofit but also donated some of the materials.

"It's so important to serve a meal here to uplift the spirits of the town," said Lopez. "We had our share of tragedies in the past two years and the holiday season is a joyous time."

It was a chance for people in Pullman to spend their Turkey Day with their community and to give back.

"This is what the man upstairs wants us to do," said guest Anna Lopez.

"I think it's a good idea just so people get to know each other," said guest Joe Gordier. "I think it's pretty important just for the camaraderie."

Organizers say it doesn't matter how much money you have, there's always room to pay it forward.

"We've got to do anything we can to help," said Walle. "If you have the chance to give, do it."

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