Glide sees longest lines ever

November 27, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
San Francisco's Glide church served thousands of meals for Thanksgiving Day, to people struggling even harder during this tough economy. More people volunteered food than in years past, and it was sorely needed, because more people than ever, lined up for a free meal.

It's not exactly grandma's house, but its Thanksgiving dinner nonetheless. Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco's Tenderloin District is one of many local charities feeding thousands of hungry people in the Bay Area for Thanksgiving.

"There's a kind of tone, a kind of feeling, a sense of hope, if it takes place," said Rev. Cecil Williams, Glide Memorial Church.

Reverend Cecil Williams is hoping to see the spirit of giving. It's shown itself here this week, after word got out that donations to Bay Area food banks were down, the San Francisco bank - which provides food for a lot of this meal, saw a surge in donations. But there's also been a surge in need.

"Oh, by god yes, definite increase in people," said Rev. Cecil Williams, Glide Memorial Church.

Williams says there are more mouths to feed than he can remember - an estimated 7,000 came for Thanksgiving.

"The increase has to do with people who have fallen through the cracks, people who can't make ends meet," said Rev. Williams.

Of course, cash is usually the best option if you are looking to put on a meal like this, but in these tough economic times, a lot of people are choosing to volunteer their time.

"It's the least I can do," said Tommy Fonua, volunteer.

There were almost a thousand volunteers cooking and serving for Thanksgiving Day.

"I came out here because I'm away from family," said a volunteer.

Twelve-hundred turkeys, 500 hams, and bins full of veggies to be chopped.

"There are a lot of people outside waiting for us," said Fonua.

And there's the rest of the holiday season, and more tough economic months ahead.

"The important thing is not to make promises this year, to really come through and help people out," said Rev. Williams.


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