On Thursday, Messick sat among several rows of other homeless and
low-income individuals and families seated at long, folding tables at
Glendale's Salvation Army. About 50 community volunteers helped serve
more than 300 people a free Thanksgiving Day lunch from noon to 2
Messick said she's been homeless for about 15 years.
"It's my choice to live like this," said Messick, who lives
homeless in and around Glendale. "I don't want anything to do with my
family. You meet better people, real people, living like this. You
have to care about other people to survive.
"This meal is very impor- tant, because I'm pregnant now, and I'm
keeping [the baby]. It's hard [living in] Los Angeles. But I've got
my buddies and my three dogs."
Community volunteers served people a traditional Thanksgiving Day
meal, which included turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry
sauce, bread and butter, stuffing, green beans and pumpkin pie.
Water, punch and coffee were also served.
Those who came to the Salvation Army to eat on Thursday also
received a bag containing a toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant and
a comb, said James Sloan, the local Salvation Army captain. Sloan
shook hands and hugged people as they departed the lunch, often
saying "God bless you and Happy Thanksgiving to ya."
"Coming in and getting a free meal is not always easy, because of
people's dignity and pride," Sloan said. "We invite them to come in,
sit down and let us serve them. And for us, we get a real sense of
what we have in our own lives."
Glendale Fire Chief Chris Gray, his wife, Cynthia, and their two
children, Tyler and Kelly, spent the afternoon serving lunches to
people during Thursday's event.
"Not everybody has the options we do," Gray said. "[My family] has
options, and that's a gift. It's a good feeling to give some of that
back. It's really nice to be here."
James Allmon enjoyed a cigarette after eating a full Thanksgiving
meal, and said the food he received was a "true blessing." Allmon, a
recovering alcoholic and drug addict, said his faith in God is what
helps him get through each day being homeless.
"This really is a blessing to be a part of this and to be fed by
them," said Allmon, 37. "Each year this gets better, and the
generosity grows. There is even more love this year."