For an hour beginning at 8:30, church staff and volunteers serve between 40 and 60 hot meals.
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- When the Rev. Mandy McDow, senior minister at Los Angles First United Methodist Church, preaches "love thy neighbor," she means that for everyone.
The downtown Los Angeles church saw a need in the community. And so every Sunday for the last 14 months, they have been serving free hot breakfast to those in need.
"Everything I do and say is an expression of our public theology. So, we have to do what we say and say what we mean," said Rev. McDow. "It means that when we say we welcome all people, we have to welcome all people."
For an hour beginning at 8:30 a.m., church staff and volunteers serve between 40 and 60 hot meals. Rev. McDow specifically caters to their unhoused neighbors in the community but says everyone is welcome. She says the event came about because she noticed many guests would come to church services hungry and dehydrated.
"I just love people and there's no one feeding those who are unhoused or food not secured on Sundays. And so this church does that," said Teresa Hillery, a volunteer. "I come out here to help them feed. I love people and a lot of times people just need someone to give them a smile."
After breakfast is served, guests are welcomed to stay for the church service which is held outside on the church parking lot. Rev. McDow said although everyone is welcome to stay, no one is required.
James Harper has been living on the streets and regularly attends the breakfast. "I try and make it here every Sunday. I been here probably no less than 10 weeks. Honestly, it's the breakfast and you know they do the worship and prayer. Get some Jesus in you."
"It's probably my sixth or seventh time," said Jenelle Spanks. "For food and get word of God. And I get to see a woman reverend instead of a man. It works different for me. It's outside, I don't feel like I'm judged, I feel like I felt love here."
Rev. McDow said the weekly event costs about $400, and is funded mostly by rent from the parking lot and could not happen without the support of volunteers.