Major shortage of Thanksgiving meal donations


As the holidays approach, charities and groups reaching out to those most in need find they just don't have the resources to help everyone this year.

Every year charities throughout Southern California feed thousands of homeless and needy families a Thanksgiving feast.

Officials with the Los Angeles Midnight Mission say they feed more than 1,500 people a holiday meal on Thanksgiving. This year they expect that number to double, and they vow, despite a huge drop in donations, they will meet the demand.

"We understand as a charity that in difficult times we really are the place that the community turns to, and so you will not see us cut back in our services and our meals," said Mai Lee, a Midnight Mission spokesperson.

Like many charities in this crippling economy, Midnight Mission officials say meeting a growing demand with less is getting harder to accomplish.

"We've been seeing about a 20-percent drop in donations overall," said Lee. "Our costs have been up 15 percent just in meals alone."

L.A. Food Bank officials say with their donations down 50 percent, they are having a tough time helping the more than 160 charitable organizations they assist.

Last year at least 10,000 people lined up to get a Thanksgiving meal at the annual Jackson Limousine turkey giveaway in South Los Angeles.

E.J. Jackson, owner of Jackson Limousine Service, says with donations critically low this year, he only has food to feed a few hundred people at this point. He says he has never seen it so bad.

"I've been doing this for 28 years, and I need help," said Jackson. "I need L.A. to step up and help these people. Be a blessing to someone, some family. This is no joke."

Jackson says he is leaning on faith that God will provide a miracle by next Tuesday. That is when he expects thousands to line up for his company's 29th annual turkey giveaway.

"I believe that God is going to send us an angel and give us a miracle," said Jackson.

"It hurts because last year I came and donated my time and we had pallets of boxes full of canned goods and everything, waiting for produce, waiting for the turkeys, to give to all these people. Now there's nothing here. I mean, I am looking around going, 'Wow,'" said David Boelens, a volunteer the Jackson Limousine turkey giveaway.

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