Church runs out of food during giveaway

December 16, 2008 7:00:27 PM PST
A San Francisco institution that helps the homeless and needy announced a first Tuesday, but it was not something to celebrate.

GLIDE Church ran out of food during one of its holiday giveaways.

Some people began gathering Monday night and by early Tuesday morning hundreds were lining up in the rain and cold. They were waiting to receive a bag filled with groceries including a chicken or turkey for Christmas.

Many count on this every year.

"I'm happy GLIDE is here to help others. That's what we're here for. Thankful," said Dulce Lopez.

When asked what GLIDE meant to him, Jeff Yeomans replied, "A lifeline. A lifesaver. All that, everything." Said Jean Cooper with GLIDE.

GLIDE knew it would be tight this year because many of those in line were not regulars.

"We're seeing a lot of people that are newly homeless or newly jobless that are needing our services to make ends meet," said Jean Cooper with GLIDE.

Volunteers from Macy's and the Gap formed an assembly line, distributing bags for four hours.

GLIDE was prepared to give away 6,000 bags of groceries. But, it appeared more than 7,000 were waiting in a line that stretched down and around the next block.

So, the unthinkable happened

"We are closing down because we are out of food. Yeah... So, this is a new experience, not having enough food for everybody," said Rev. Cecil Williams.

Rev. Williams decided to take 1200 chickens that were being saved for next week and hand them out. In the end, dozens of people still walked away with nothing.

"Took about an hour-and-a-half and I still didn't get no food. They had run out of food before I got up here," said Stanley Tate.

Another woman at the event said, "It was still worth coming down here though. It was worth a try."

GLIDE has two more holiday events, a toy giveaway and Christmas dinner next week. If what happened Tuesday is any indication, they will have more people than ever turning to them for holiday cheer.

Click here to learn how you can make a donation to the GLIDE Church.


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