SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Volunteers began chopping, slicing and dicing at San Francisco’s Glide Memorial Church by 6 a.m. Thursday morning. The Tenderloin church will serve more than 5,000 meals this Thanksgiving to the poor and homeless.

“We open up our volunteer list on November 1st and usually Thanksgiving’s booked by mid-day,” said Glide’s Jean Cooper. She said some of the same volunteers have been coming in the entire time the church has been serving turkey and ham dinners on the holiday for the past 29 years.

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KCBS’ Bob Butler Reports:

“We have new people that come in, little kids,” she added, but assured that the kids don’t handle knives, but that the need for volunteers and for food donations is as great as ever.

“At one time it was mostly individuals, homeless guys that were, you know, in the neighborhood. Now we’re seeing a lot more families and seniors. The seniors that are struggling with poverty are growing exponentially.”

The line for the free meal began forming before midnight and later the same morning would wrap around the block.

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Looby, was the first person in line. “When my mama was living and my daddy was living, it was a tradition that we all sit around the family table, you know and have dinner. But I’m grateful to be here. I really am,” he said.

Just blocks away in the same neighborhood, The Saint Anthony’s Foundation is also handing out thousands of meals on Thanksgiving. According to the organization one in five people who eat at Saint Anthony’s throughout the year are military veterans. This year the group collected a thousand turkeys through its 24th annual Curbside Donation Drive.

Meanwhile volunteers at the Salvation Army in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood are delivering Thanksgiving meals to thousands of homebound residents.

Jack Clitheroe, executive director for the Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center, said the meals that are being delivered are prepared by people involved in the Salvation Army’s drug and alcohol recovery program.

Meals on Wheels volunteers, working out of the organization’s office in San Francisco’s Bayview District are also delivering meals to hundreds of seniors.

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