LA Mission hands out meals, toys to homeless


Known for helping the homeless, The L.A. Mission's annual Christmas event for underprivileged families is in its 25th year.

"I came down from the Beverly Boulevard, Vermont Avenue area to be with these people because in the past they have helped me a lot," said Cheryl Kawata, eating at the mission.

For those who struggle day by day on the street, the event is a time to receive and appreciate the efforts of many generous volunteers.

"It means a whole lot to me because I don't have the money to buy the stuff to make the meal," said Marilyn Lawrence, eating at the mission. "Therefore, I get it, and I'm happy because I've got some food to eat."

Los Angeles Mission President Herb Smith said they're expecting to serve meals to about 3,000 to 4,000 people Monday.

"We're prepared no matter how many show up," said Smith. "We've got gifts for the kids. We've got hygiene products for the adults. We've got a wonderful meal choreographed by Ben Ford from Ford's Filling Station. It's going to be a wonderful event."

Chef Ben Ford works closely with the Los Angeles Mission because as a Los Angeles native, he feels it's important to contribute to his community.

Celebrities, political leaders, and volunteers were also present to ensure homeless children and their families got a proper holiday meal.

"We all have to remember we all have an obligation to one another and it's great to see all the volunteers who are here today," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Men, women, and children get a chance to sit together, eat together and be part of the holiday spirit.

"Everybody that donates to charity, they appreciate what they have so they're able to give to people who really need at this time of the year, and every time of the year actually," said Anthony Rogers, eating at the mission. "It's great to celebrate. It's a celebration of life."

In addition to the free food, a Santa Claus workshop is set up to distribute thousands of donated toys to kids who otherwise wouldn't receive any gifts on Christmas morning.

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