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
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

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim 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.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid