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LA Mission serves early Thanksgiving feast

November 19, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Thanksgiving is arriving a few days earlier this year for the homeless in Los Angeles' Skid Row on Saturday.

The Union Rescue Mission fired up their ovens and deep fryers and began cooking turkeys as early as midnight. They served piping hot Thanksgiving meals with all the fixings beginning at 11 a.m.

By early Saturday morning, the Mission had already baked 300 turkeys and were in the process of frying 200 more.

An estimated 5,000 people attended Saturday's feast, breaking records for the mission.

One of the attendees was 37-year-old Kristina Mandingo. This year has been tough for the mother of four children.

"I'm a single mom because their father died this past year in January," said Mandingo.

The Rev. Andy Bales said there are more people on the streets now than there were last year.

"We're working hard to make sure we have a wonderful meal and we're inviting everybody inside to sit at our family table and enjoy the celebration of Thanksgiving," said Bales.

"It's really a blessing," said Mandingo. "I've always donated and everything. And to have people make all this stuff for us. You miss that when you can't have your own home to do your own stuff, and when you get somebody else to do it for you like this, it's really good and I know it's done with love."

In 2010, the Mission served Thanksgiving meals to 4,500 people in Skid Row.

In addition to the traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner, Bales said there was also a dessert bar on the roof.

More than 300 volunteers are helping out at the Saturday event, which includes live entertainment, a shoe giveaway and a fun zone for children.

If you would like to donate or volunteer at the Union Rescue Mission, call (213) 347-6300.

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