Hot meals and new shoes for Thanksgiving

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES On the corner of San Pedro St. and 6th St. they lined up along the block. It's more than just a turkey dinner for children, it's a chance for a new pair of shoes. For parents it was a chance for some free clothing. And for families, a chance to understand that there is help for them in their own neighborhood.

For parents struggling to make ends meet, a trip to the mall is often out of the question. But a trip to this makeshift store, where the shoes are free, is nothing short of a blessing.

"It means a lot. It's great," said L.A. resident Matthew Stewart.

Stewart was among those first in line to participate in the 12th Annual Thanksgiving Shoes That Fit event put on by the nonprofit /*Central City Community Outreach*/.

"You know, the fact that we are in the same situation, everybody around here, and we don't have that extra money to buy them shoes, and you know they are giving out shoes, and shoes are expensive," said Stewart.

Central City Community Outreach helps families that are living on /*Skid Row*/ cope with homelessness. And the hundreds of families that attended Tuesday's event received shoes, clothing and a hot meal.

"We are not just handing them a pair of shoes, we actually provide a shoe store," said Sophia Cabido, director of programs and development at Central City Community Outreach. "Two volunteers per family, so that one volunteer is always interacting with the family and the other volunteer is able to provide the child with the pair of shoes that they like."

Organizers say the services provided Tuesday go beyond food and shoes.

"It's really building relationships so that at the end of this we are still here and they know that we are the corner of Sixth and San Pedro, the big green door, and we are a place where every family is always welcome," said Cabido.

Those that attended said they're more than grateful.

"It's a blessing for people to give things to others," said L.A. resident Sharice Roberson. "When they cannot have or can receive. So it is a Christmas and a Thanksgiving for some of these people."

Organizers were expected to serve 600 families Tuesday. There were more than 200 volunteers helping to make it happen.

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