Different faith volunteers unite for Thanksgiving

November 25, 2010 12:20:26 AM PST
Bay Area food kitchens are expecting to be exceptionally busy on Thanksgiving. Hunger in the United States is at its highest level in 15 years, so volunteers started preparing Thanksgiving meals on Wednesday night.

At St. Anthony's in San Francisco, they added a twist to this Thanksgiving. They called the leaders of six different faiths in the community and asked if their members would come and help prepare the meal.

"We were really surprised, we're very happy that we could share our wealth and help the needy," says volunteer Balbir Sull from the Sikh Temple.

They spent a couple of hours on jobs like filling 4,000 pie crusts and decorating the tables, but the moment was so unique, they did take a break long enough to capture it by taking a picture together.

"So often in the news today what we hear are?different faiths struggling with each other or saying one is bringing another down. We're saying, 'You know what? We all work together for the good of our brothers and sisters who struggle,'" says St. Anthony's Executive Director Shari Roeseler.

Over at Glide Memorial Church, volunteers were also busy Wednesday night getting ready for the 5,000 meals they'll serve on Thanksgiving. There's always an impressive turnout of volunteers at Thanksgiving, but many of them realize the importance of showing up after the big holiday.

"It's a place I try to come regularly, not just on Thanksgiving, but it's extra special on Thanksgiving," says volunteer Mio Nitta.

Both Glide and St Anthony's agree need is up this year and type of people who need help has changed.

"I would say some middle class, some who thought they were going to be able to get through this year and years to come and have discovered they don't have the resources," says Rev. Cecil Williams from Glide Memorial Church.

The hope, of course, is that the people they feed will turn into success stories like Shirley Smith and her husband Charles.

"We were in a tent for a whole year. We were on drugs and alcohol," says Shirley.

St. Anthony's helped them with their addictions and with life. They now rent a four bedroom house and volunteer their time at St. Anthony's. And since there are so many people in need this year, they plan on giving some money too.


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