Some local community members see Thanksgiving not strictly as a time for feasting with family but as an ideal time for doing charitable deeds and volunteering among the area’s many feeding programs and social services for the homeless and the needy.
MEALS FOR HOMELESS — One Incredible Family, Inc., a nonprofit organization that produces community service projects throughout the year, is seeking community participation in a Thanksgiving weekend homeless feeding event.
“Many people give to national charities and hope that their money is helping, but one way to truly see tangible evidence of change is to volunteer and give within your local community,” says PJ Schumacher, executive director of One Incredible Family, Inc.
On Saturday, November 25th, two days after Thanksgiving, volunteers will assemble about 1,561 traditional turkey meals to be distributed to the homeless. Community members can participate in the preparation and packaging of the meals from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Westchester Masonic Lodge, 7726 Manchester Ave., Playa del Rey.
Once assembled, the meals will be distributed by volunteers to homeless shelters throughout Los Angeles County from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Cleanup of the lodge is the final task of the day for volunteers and will last until about 7:30 p.m.
Volunteers are asked to participate for a minimum of three hours. Breakfast and lunch will be provided to volunteers.
Those wanting to donate cooked turkeys should make arrangements to drop them off the night before — Friday, November 24th.
Schumacher says the aim of One Incredible Family, Inc. is to teach volunteer activism on a grass-roots level. The charity has been operating for 13 years, often organizing charitable events around holiday times, working with the disenfranchised, the homeless, the elderly and children living with or affected by AIDS.
The group’s first Thanksgiving feeding event was 13 years ago, and a mere 50 meals were served.
Information, (310) 313-0123 ext. 1.
ST. JOSEPH CENTER THANKSGIVING — Venice-based St. Joseph Center organizes two Thanksgiving charity events each year. The first, “Teamwork at the Table,” took place Monday, November 20th, and featured participation by players and staff from the Los Angeles Clippers organization. Members of the Clippers front office served Thanksgiving meals to families at the Bread & Roses CafÈ, 663 Rose Ave., Venice. Clippers players, along with head coach Mike Dunleavy and his assistant coaching staff, distributed Thanksgiving turkeys, food baskets, clothing and books to families at St. Joseph Center, 204 Hampton Drive, Venice. This was the 18th year of the “Teamwork at the Table” program.
On Wednesday, November 22nd, Thanksgiving meals for the homeless and needy were to be served from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Bread & Roses CafÈ, with help from the Loyola Marymount University Belles student volunteer organization.
On Tuesday, November 21st, children from Wildwood Secondary School got a lesson in community service as they served up holiday meals at Bread & Roses CafÈ.
Bread & Roses CafÈ provides free hot meals to the homeless, serving up to 150 meals on a daily basis. The name Bread & Roses is taken from an old union anthem.
St. Joseph Center is a nonprofit social service agency that helps about 7,000 individuals annually. The center’s mission is to provide working poor families as well as homeless men, women and children of all ages with the resources to become productive, stable and self-supporting members of the community, according to the group.
Information, (310) 396-6468 ext. 327.
OPCC THANKSGIVING LUNCH — A free Thanksgiving lunch of hot turkey and ham with traditional trimmings and pumpkin pie, will be offered from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, November 22nd, at OPCC, 1616 Seventh St., Santa Monica. OPCC provides shelter, showers and other services for low-income youths, adults and families. The center welcomes donations of food, clothing and personal hygiene items.
Information, (310) 450-4050.
SENIOR THANKSGIVING — Back on Broadway Restaurant will partner with the City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Senior Recreation Center to host a Thanksgiving dinner for seniors ages 60 and older. Back on Broadway Restaurant is at 2024 Broadway, Santa Monica. Meal tickets are $2 and need to be purchased in advance at the Santa Monica Senior Recreation Center, 1450 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica. Two mealtimes will be held at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and limited seating is available.
Information, (310) 458-8644.
WESTSIDE THANKSGIVING — The Westside Thanksgiving Day Dinner Celebration, a free meal and community Thanksgiving celebration that has been organized by the Santa Monica Vineyard Christian Fellowship annually since 1982, is planned for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, November 23rd, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 1855 Main St., Santa Monica.
The meal is served inside the auditorium, and children’s activities will be set up outside on auditorium grounds. Last year, about 2,100 meals were served by about 1,200 volunteers, according to the Fellowship.
The event draws students, singles, seniors, low-income individuals and many families, according to organizers.
Free haircuts are also offered at the event.
Organizers say they are still in need of donations of large boxes of mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans and gravy.
Participating groups this year include Vineyard Christian Fellowship Westside, Malibu Vineyard Christian Fellowship, Trinity Baptist Church, Community United Methodist Church of Pacific Palisades, Metro Church, St. Augustine by the Sea Episcopal Church, Oasis Christian Center, First Presbyterian Church, The Acts Church, Venice Free Methodist Church, Resurrection Life Fellowship, St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, First United Methodist Church of Santa Monica, Westwood United Methodist Church, St. John Presbyterian Church, Culver City Presbyterian Church and HOLA (Heart of Los Angeles Youth).
Information, (310) 394-3153.
ST. MONICA DINNER — St. Monica Catholic Church prepares for its 27th annual community Thanksgiving dinner, to be held from 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, November 22nd, in the St. Monica Parish Auditorium, 725 California Ave., Santa Monica.
Many homeless take part in the feast, but they’re not the only ones, says St. Monica pastoral associate Delis Alejandro.
“This is like a big open house for the community,” she says. “Anybody who wants the experience of a community Thanksgiving is welcome.”
Often, the elderly, families or students from out of town come just for the companionship, Alejandro says.
The traditional Thanksgiving meals are prepared and donated by local ministries, students and congregation members from the parish, which serves several thousand local households in the Santa Monica area.
Guests begin lining up at Seventh Street and California Avenue for the free feast.
Following dinner, each guest is offered cold-weather clothing and a number of clothing items from St. Monica’s thrift store.
A free shuttle will be available starting at 2:30 p.m. at the southwest corner of Rose and Fourth Avenues in Venice, near the old St. Joseph Center location.
Donations of travel-sized toiletries and cold weather clothing are still needed, says Alejandro.
Information, (310) 393-9287.