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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid