OC restaurant serves free dinner for thousands

ANAHEIM, Calif. With so many families struggling because of the economy, organizers expect to feed as many as 20,000 people.

La Casa Garcia restaurant and We Give Thanks Inc., a nonprofit organization that feeds needy people in Los Angeles and Orange counties, have been serving free Thanksgiving meals in the Orange County area for the past 22 years. The first year the restaurant held the event about 2,300 people were served.

The Honda Center has hosted the event for the past three years.

About 1,500 of volunteers, as well as some of the Anaheim Ducks players, were on hand to serve up the turkey dinner to those in need.

"It's actually very generous, I think so," said Mychal Bush-Simmons. "Not too many people often do this for other people and I'm very, very thankful for it."

The owner of La Casa Garcia, Frank Garcia, personally oversees the food preparation.

"We have about 1,000 turkeys," said Garcia. "We got about 15,000 potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, bell peppers, everything. And we have about 3,000 pies, we've got about 20,000 rolls."

Garcia says everyone is welcome at the event. They feed a lot of needy people, but they also invite anyone who is alone or just looking to spend Thanksgiving in a fun, family atmosphere.

"If I run out of food, I've got tamales, enchiladas and everything in the restaurant. We get it going, but nobody is going to go hungry today," said Garcia. "Everybody's welcome here."

Meals were served from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Honda Center parking lot, located at 2695 E. Katella Ave. in Anaheim.

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