Five hundred turkeys are being prepared over 24 hours for a Thanksgiving meal that will feed up to 5,000 homeless people on Skid Row this Saturday.
The dinner is being served by the Union Rescue Mission. The 124-year-old annual dinner is sponsored by soap opera "The Bold and the Beautiful" and will include entertainment and a fun zone for kids.
"We're gonna invite 5,000 of our dearest friends who are experiencing homelessness into our house at Union Rescue Mission and treat them to Thanksgiving dinner," Mission CEO Andy Bales told KPCC.
Bales said 500 turkeys will feed about 4,500 to 5,000 people. The cooking began Friday morning when volunteers began deep-frying turkeys using 25 pots in front of the Mission.
The team of volunteers hopes to have all 500 turkeys ready by Saturday morning. Bales said that over 200 volunteers will be helping the Mission serve dinner Saturday.
Bales said he sees the struggle people face near the Mission's location in Skid Row.
"There's tents all around us ... they're struggling in trying to find their way down the sidewalk, there's people that are mentally ill talking to themselves," he said.
The Mission hopes to give homeless people an opportunity to have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. A few years ago the dinner was held outside, but after rain crashed the meal one year, the organization decided to move it inside. Bales said the switch makes it more homey.
"I just thought, why should we have it outside? People who live outside all year ... ought to be able to come in for Thanksgiving, just like you would [in] grandma's house," Bales said. "So we switched everything and we always invite everybody in for Thanksgiving, into our home."
Bales said the Mission was not in need of more volunteers for Saturday, but that people can help in other ways.
"We need you to volunteer every day," Bales said. "It's not just [on] Thanksgiving we need volunteers."
The meal is Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.