Anaheim Ducks players help serve free Thanksgiving meals at Honda Center

Jessica De Nova Image
Friday, November 24, 2023
Ducks players help serve free Thanksgiving meals at Honda Center
Anaheim Ducks players joined in on serving free Thanksgiving meals to thousands of people outside the Honda Center.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- Thousands of people received a free Thanksgiving meal Thursday outside the Honda Center.

The Anaheim Ducks were part of the annual "We Give Thanks" tradition that was started years ago by a local restaurant.

"We Give Thanks" celebrated its 37th year of giving free meals for Thanksgiving.

There was live entertainment and Ducks players dished out so much food.

Anaheim Councilmember Carlos Leon said this was a tradition started by Frank Garcia's mother at their restaurant, La Casa Garcia.

"She was always making sure that people were fed on Thanksgiving, so she kind of started that tradition and kind of brought that to Frank," Leon said. "Frank wants to keep that going."

Leon was referring to the hundreds of volunteers serving thousands.

Joshua Mutua has been on both ends of this event.

"I have more than most of these people here. When I hit rock bottom, those people were there for me," Mutua said. "Let me give back to them."

Though the Ducks were scheduled to face off against the Kings Friday, they were out helping serve the community. Forward Frank Vatrano was on pie duty.

"When you can do something like this, give back to your community, it's great," Vatrano said. "Hockey is just a bonus for us, but if we can use our platform to promote things like this it's great."

To many there, a plate with all the fixings wasn't easy to come by.

Martha Micaela Serrano said there was no way she would've been able to provide a meal like this for her family.

"Rent is expensive and not only that, but food is up, so I just want to say, 'Thank you guys from the bottom of my heart, and thanks everyone for sharing this moment with us,'" Serrano said.

Artist Luis Arturo Guevara-Vazquez said this time around there were so many volunteers he didn't have a chance to work a station, adding that many came for more than a free meal.

"It's not just to have your food. It's to be together with people, you know," he said.

Organizers estimated they served between 5,000 to 6,000 meals.