"I think it's just one thing that a lot of these people really need, and I came down, I'm in need also, so I see a lot of people, a lot of families. Every year just seems to get more and more, and more people coming," said Alvia Delatorre, who joined the festivities to eat.
Celebrities were among the volunteers giving to the needy.
"The spirit here is just something unbelievable, and particularly now, you know the way things are going in the country, we're swamped, as the food banks are, almost all the other missions are, so we're asking for all the help we can get," said actor Dick Van Dyke.
L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa urged residents to help the needy during the tough economic time.
"I've seen a desperation that pains me and should pain all of us, and I just want to say to Angelenos across the city and Southern Californians, please go and help," Villaraigosa said.
Organizers of the missions involved in the celebration said the lines have gotten longer this year.
"The first Thanksgiving was to give thanks to God for his bounty, and then I add, to reach out to your loved ones, those who are special to you, and love each other," said Willie Jordan, president of the Fred Jordan Mission.
"We have so little time, love each other a lot."
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