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Churches, Charities Feed Christmas Meals To Thousands In San Francisco

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Volunteers Serve Holiday Meal

Volunteers at Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco serve breakfast to the needy on Christmas morning (CBS)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Thousands of people in need enjoyed free hot meals this Christmas from several churches and charitable organizations in San Francisco.

At the Salvation Army South of Market Corps, at 360 Fourth St., 4,300 meals were expected to be distributed to homebound people without family.

The meals, prepared by the Salvation Army staff, were passed out by volunteers from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.

Glide Memorial Church, at 330 Ellis St., offered two opportunities to get a meal on Christmas Day.

From 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., Glide provided breakfast to thousands of homeless and needy families and individuals. And from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., many more people would be offered dinner.

According to Glide staffer Jean Cooper, 650 volunteers, who showed up around 6 a.m., were on hand to serve 5,000 meals to many of those who waited under plastic tarps on city sidewalks waiting for the doors to open.

About an hour after volunteers arrived, the first of 300 hams and turkeys were served. Cooper was cheerful and despite what seemed to her like a drop in the number of volunteers; she observed that volunteering at Glide is becoming a family affair.

“One of the nice things that’s nice to see though is parents bringing their kids in and I think to understand that there’s more to the holidays than just getting a lot of presents,” she said.

In St. Anthony’s dining room, at 150 Golden Gate Ave., 100 players, coaches and staff from the Navy Midshipmen football program served meals to the homeless.

Karl Robillard, St. Anthony’s Foundation’s Communications and Outreach Senior Manager, said the big effort was in conjunction with the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, a bowl game that takes place in San Francisco and is in its third year. Robillard said the Hunger Bowl is the only bowl game in the nation to have a philanthropic mission, sponsoring up to 200,000 meals for people around the Bay Area.

He added that 20 percent of the meals served by St. Anthony’s are to veterans with an increasing number of them coming from recent conflicts such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

Elsewhere in the city, San Francisco City Impact held its 28th annual Christmas Day Block Party event Tuesday at 230 Jones St.

The party was set to run from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and there was a $25 registration fee. Children under age 10 get in free.

The goal of the day was to deliver 5,000 hot meals to homes and give away 1,200 toys to children.

Project Open Hand provides lunch to seniors, 60 and older, at four locations on Christmas Day.

Lunches were to be served at Curry Senior Center, at 333 Turk St., at 11 a.m.; John King Senior Community, at 500 Raymond St., at 11:30 a.m.; the Downtown Senior Center, at 481 O’Farrell St., at 11:45 a.m.; and Francis of Assisi Community, at 145 Guererro St., at noon.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)

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