LA Mission serves thousands of meals for Thanksgiving

Mission Prethanx

Ashley Bailey/KPCC

Keisha Whitaker, center, volunteers distributing meals during the Los Angeles Mission pre-Thanksgiving celebration on Skid Row.

Mission Prethanx

Ashley Bailey/KPCC

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa gives a woman a foot bath outside the Los Angeles Mission.

Mission Prethanx

Ashley Bailey/KPCC

Myron McDuffie has a bite to eat for Thanksgiving outside the Los Angeles Mission on Skid Row.


Homeless people on Skid Row got an early taste of Thanksgiving Wednesday. Volunteers, including some who live far from downtown L.A.'s streets, helped dish out a free sitdown meal outside the Los Angeles Mission. Hundreds of people waited in line for hours.

Live jazz music and an arc of orange balloons greeted Skid Row visitors as they sat down to a pre-Thanksgiving meal with all the fixings — turkey, garlic mashed potatoes, green beans and pumpkin pie.

Myron McDuffie of Los Angeles says he’s enjoyed holiday meals at the L.A. Mission for 23 years. “It feels like when you come here, it’s like when Jesus was at Jerusalem. All these here lovely volunteers that they have here, greeting you with love and care. So it’s really like a personal thing, too.”

Volunteers helped to serve food. They also washed the dinner guests’ feet and distributed free tarps and blankets.

Kirk Douglas, Kim Kardashian, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and other high-profile helpers pitched in. Mission leaders say this is the 75th year they’ve served meals for Thanksgiving. They estimate that about 3,500 people enjoyed the bounty.

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