St Monica Catholic Church served 1,040 free meals on Thanksgiving Day, up from 750 last year. Delis Alejandro, a pastoral associate in charge of outreach, said that a broader range of people came this year with many more families and children. The holiday boutique, which offered free clothes and toiletries, was also in very high demand. Volunteers felt that the heavy rains prevented even more people from attending.
The Westside Vineyard Christian Fellowship hosted the free Thanksgiving Meal at the Santa Monica Civic and served 3,100 people, mostly families, of 1,000 from last year.
St Joseph’s Center gave out 650 turkey bags this year, up 100 from last year. Their Food Pantry program, which provides free groceries to needy people, saw an increase from 1,377 recipients in September to 1,819 in October. These are their highest numbers since 2002 and many clients were middle class people new to receiving help. Families or individuals register with SJCC as a Family Center client and attend an orientation that introduces them to available services in order to receive supplemental groceries four times a month from the food pantry.