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Serving Up Turkey

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Wednesday, November 25, 2009, at 03:20PM
Tania and Turkey Ed Fuentes

Disney's Tania Gunadi shows menu items at the Los Angeles Mission's Thanksgiving Dinner on Wednesday.



The Los Angeles Mission held its annual sit-down Thanksgiving Dinner today, serving up 3,000 meals on-site and boxing away another 3,000 for delivery to those unable to stand in the long lines.

While the Mission's holiday event has always been known as the time the homeless gather for a round (or two) of turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, the faces of today's diners are different. "Like last year, there is an increase in families," says Herb Smith, President and CEO of Los Angeles Mission. "It's not just about people with addictions. Economics are bringing people to Skid Row."

It's easy to see the Mission's experience in passing out meals. Civic dignitaries and celebrities take turn running plates to tables or serving up dinners. As they have been for many years, Kirk and Ann Douglas were present. The pair founded the Mission's Anne Douglas Center for Women.

"We've served 580,000 meals in the last 12 months, an increase of nearly 10 percent over the previous year,' says Smith in a statement. "The Mission works daily to save the lives, and then restore the dignity of hundreds of homeless and poor men, woman and children."

The celebrity presence at these events may be partially about getting a press mention, but those who participate do want to help. "I try and help during the year," said one starlet. "My manager asked me to come down since they knew there would be photographers. If the publicity helps the Mission, that's great."

Nearby, a Latino mother and her three children were sitting and waiting to be served. The Spanish-speaking mom was getting a quick, excited lesson from her 5-year-old who recognized the young actress bringing a plate.

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