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L.A. Mission hands out meals, shoes, love

April 2, 2010 12:05:18 AM PDT
The Los Angeles Mission prepared meals, Easter baskets and more early Friday morning to serve thousands of people in need for Good Friday.The mission will be handing out 1,000 Easter baskets, donated by JAKKS Pacific, to children and 2,000 pairs of shoes, donated by Etnies, to homeless adults and children.

"Although the economy some people say is recovering a little bit, we're not seeing that in the day-to-day needs," said Herb Smith of the Los Angeles Mission.

A long line that wrapped around the block was proof of the continued hardship. The mission is expecting to feed at least 3,000 people, but they're cooking for about 4,000 just in case more show up.

"Our motto is, it's hope in a meal, so we want to make sure we give them a nice healthy meal and tell them, 'hey,we love you, keep coming, we're here to help you get back on your feet,'" said Chef David Thomas.

Thomas said they are cooking almost 2 tons of ham, 1,500 pounds of macaroni and vegetables.

"It's a lot of work right now. We're running back and forth to make sure it's all done," Thomas said.

Thomas said the mission has been seeing a lot more families in the past year.

"We love (the needy) here at the Los Angeles Mission," Thomas said. "We want to make sure it's a really comfortable meal, just like a home setting."

Dozens of volunteers, including celebrities, began serving meals at 11 a.m.

Los Angeles resident Tonja Adkins said she was living at the mission until six months ago.

"If you take advantage of what they offer you down here, that's the whole thing, it's taking advantage of the resources they have," she said.

"They're giving us things that we need and for free, and I feel that they're helping the parents out," said Breanna Johnson.

The Los Angeles Mission is located in the Skid Row area on the corner of San Julian and 5th streets.