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Glendale Salvation Army: As economy stays sluggish, 'Every little bit helps'

Salvation Army welcomes nearly 300 to its annual turkey feast in Glendale.

November 29, 2013|By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com
  • First time volunteer Gayaneh Gharakhani serves a meal at the annual Thanksgiving Day at the Salvation Army in Glendale on Thursday, November 28, 2013. A team of 60-70 volunteers helped to serve between 300-400 meals. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
First time volunteer Gayaneh Gharakhani serves a meal… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

Roughly 500 pounds of turkey were cooked and carved Thursday for the annual Glendale Salvation Army Thanksgiving dinner.

Nearly 300 people showed up for the free meal, which included 24 turkeys, mashed potatoes, green beans and cranberry sauce.

PHOTOS: Glendale Salvation Army serves Thanksgiving meal

“These are people that have nowhere else to go, whether they are homeless or lonely,” said Rick White, the agency's director of social services and volunteer coordinator. “They would be alone today — it makes me tear up just to tell you that.”

Among the diners was Anthony Davis, who said he has been homeless for six months and was grateful for the holiday meal.

“It helped me big time — I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to do to eat today,” Davis said.

Across the room, Glendale resident Thomas Holden said the meal reminded him of his mother's home cooking.

“This is a beautiful place,” said Glendale resident Garry Smith, who ate his meal before heading to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for his second day on the job as a gallery attendant. Up until he was hired, he had been out of work for four months, he said.

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“Things got tough, I managed,” he said. “Now I have a job — I feel grateful.”

Roughly 70 volunteers, many clad in white aprons, gathered to help serve at the event, which has been going on for roughly two decades, White said.

“They all have different things they could be doing today, but they chose to come here and serve food,” White said.

Among them was Jennifer Nance, who was volunteering with her husband and four kids. “I wanted to help serve, and have the children see they do have so much,” Nance said.

White said he noticed fewer seniors, but more families in attendance at this year's dinner.

“The economy continues to be sluggish — the people in our neighborhood are on the edge, every bit helps,” White said.

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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