While thousands of Los Angeles-area residents will be opening presents Thursday, there will also be several efforts to help thousands of the region’s poor on Christmas Day.
The Midnight Mission will conduct its annual Christmas Day Brunch and Santa’s Village for Los Angeles’ homeless and near-homeless population on Skid Row.
Entertainer Dick Van Dyke and KLOS-FM (95.5) personality Gary Moore will be among the volunteers serving traditional Christmas meals to thousands. Impoverished children will be able to select from among thousands of toys, including guitars, electronics, skateboards and bicycles. The event will commemorate the mission’s 100th anniversary.
Union Station Homeless Services is expected to serve more than 3,000 plates of food in Pasadena’s Central Park to homeless and low-income adults and families, senior citizens and people who are alone or unable to afford a holiday meal at its 43rd annual Dinner-in-the-Park event.
The Laugh Factory in Hollywood will conduct its 35th annual free Christmas Day Feast for anyone away from home, those who might be lonely, homeless or in need of a warm meal, a hug or laugh. Top comics will join other celebrities in helping serve each guest a turkey dinner with all the trimmings.
Comics will perform live shows following meals served at 1 p.m, 3, p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Temple Israel of Hollywood’s 29th annual Christmas Dinner for the Hungry and Homeless will provide Christmas dinners for needy men, women and children at Hollywood United Methodist Church.
Traditional Masses and church services celebrating the birth of Jesus will be held at churches throughout the region, including the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, where Archbishop Jose H. Gomez will be the principal celebrant for a 12:30 p.m. Spanish-language Christmas Day Mass. English-language Christmas Day Masses will be celebrated at the cathedral at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Gomez will also celebrate Christmas Mass with inmates at the Men’s Central Jail.
“Christmas calls us again to walk the pathways of this world with Jesus, in the company of our brothers and sisters in the church,” Gomez wrote in his Christmas message. “To live as Jesus did — with kindness for all and compassion and gentle understanding.”
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is encouraging people to perform acts of kindness beyond Christmas as part of its “Be Somebody to Somebody Advent Challenge.”
Participants are encouraged to start making a difference in their neighborhoods by helping others, especially the most vulnerable.
Good works inspired through the challenge could include feeding the homeless, volunteering at a shelter, at a crisis pregnancy center or with a prison ministry. Other acts of kindness include adopting a family for the holidays or helping immigrants prepare their driver’s license paperwork, Gomez said.