Volunteers serve thousands of Thanksgiving meals


An army of volunteers at Project Open Hand, which year round delivers meals to people who are homebound from HIV/AIDS, cancer and other illnesses, this morning was preparing to ship out 2,600 Thanksgiving meals to be hand delivered to people in San Francisco and the East Bay.

"They are busy as ever," spokeswoman Hannah Schmunk said. "The food is packed up and ready to go."

Scores of volunteers had been working through the week to pack up 3,200 pounds of turkey, 1,100 pounds of mashed potatoes, 3,000 pounds of green peas and green beans, 80 gallons of gravy and 400 pumpkin pies.

The meals will be delivered to Project Open Hand's homebound clients beginning at 12:30 p.m., Schmunk said. Another round of meals will be delivered on Friday.

"We can't ignore the fact that tomorrow everyone needs to eat too," Schmunk said.

As of 10:30 a.m., Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco was in the middle of serving up 5,000 Thanksgiving meals to hungry and homeless community members who were lining up in the city's Tenderloin neighborhood. "We're in full swing," spokeswoman Denise Lamott said.

More than 500 volunteer cooks and servers have been working for days to prepare over a thousand donated turkeys, including 100 from the Morongo Band of Indians, 600 from Innovative Advertising, 400 from Safeway shoppers and 200 from San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and his wife.

Lamott said the rainy weather this morning wasn't impeding the effort, which by days end will have seen holiday meals served to 5,000 people.

Volunteer crews at the Salvation Army were in the final phase of packing up 4,600 holiday meals that will be driven from their San Francisco packing center to people who can't leave their homes to line up at charity cafeterias.

"There's a huge number of people are homebound because of age or illness," spokeswoman Laine Hendricks said.

The Salvation Army recruits nearly 300 volunteers - individuals, couples, friends and entire families -- to deliver meals to the needy on Thanksgiving, Hendricks said.

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