News / USA

Celebrities Help Homeless Celebrate Thanksgiving

Kirk Douglas Serving Thanksgiving (Eve) Meal, 24 Nov 2010
Kirk Douglas Serving Thanksgiving (Eve) Meal, 24 Nov 2010
TEXT SIZE - +
Mike O'Sullivan

Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Thursday, when they give thanks for the good things in their lives.  Some also reach out on Thanksgiving to help the less fortunate.  Dozens of Hollywood celebrities have been helping the poor and homeless on this holiday.

It is an annual tradition.  The day before Thanksgiving, thousands of homeless men and women, and others from low-income housing near the city center, arrive for a free meal of turkey with the trimmings.

Herb Smith is president of the Los Angeles Mission, a religious charity that helps the poor and homeless.  He says the mission is serving 3,500 meals this Thanksgiving.

"It's a portion of the 600,000 meals we serve every year," said Smith. "And it's really a particularly important year because so many people are coming that are not having food.  They may be able to pay their rent, but they don't have money to buy food and we're able to help them through the meal service and also through the food boxes that we give away."

The street was blocked to traffic, and it was filled with tables and chairs for the Thanksgiving dinner.  Among the two dozen Hollywood stars and others who came to help, the actress Kat Graham of the television series The Vampire Diaries was serving food.

"I spent most of my Thanksgivings growing up feeding the homeless and it's just important, no matter where you are in your life, to give back and really appreciate what you have," said Graham. "And there are so many people here that don't, don't have homes or don't have families and don't have that."

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is another who came to help.

"We come every year because it's important to put the giving in Thanksgiving, to acknowledge that there are people who are hurting, and when you have an opportunity to help them in times of need, you ought to take that opportunity every time you can," said Mayor Villaraigosa.

The actor Kirk Douglas was dishing up plates of food, as he does here every Thanksgiving.  The Hollywood icon will turn 94 next month, and his speech is partially impaired from a stroke he suffered 14 years ago.  But he is active and stays busy with charity work, and has this suggestion on celebrating Thanksgiving.

"Give more, be aware that there are people that need help," said Kirk Douglas.

The actor and his wife, Anne Douglas, have been major supporters of this downtown charity, which has a center for homeless women named in Anne's honor.  She says the mission offers hope for desperate men and women.

"Anywhere between the Los Angeles Mission and the Anne Douglas Center, if they need help, they get it from us any time," said Anne Douglas.

David Thomas helped prepare Thanksgiving dinner.  He was on the streets himself with a drug and alcohol problem, but in 1999, turned his life around with help from the LA Mission.  Today, he is a trained chef and works for the charity, and says he enjoys preparing food on this holiday.

"It makes me feel good inside to see somebody that might not have a meal," said Thomas. "We want to make sure they have a Thanksgiving meal, and it does my heart pleasure that we can do that here."

The downtown mission carries on an ancient Christian tradition on this annual holiday - the washing of feet, with physicians on hand to identify physical problems among the poor and homeless who have come for Thanksgiving dinner.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid