Holiday meals bring hope to San Francisco's Tenderloin District

Tara Campbell Image
Sunday, December 25, 2022
Holiday meals bring hope to SF's Tenderloin District
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Thousands of San Francisco's most vulnerable people are being served a holiday meal and a side of hope at Glide Memorial Church this weekend.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Thousands of San Francisco's most vulnerable people are being served a holiday meal and a side of hope at Glide Memorial Church this weekend.

"It means a lot because we've both been homeless here in San Francisco for about five or six months, just seeking housing," said Brandon Mitchell, referring to himself and his longtime girlfriend.

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"The pandemic hit everyone hard and the result is inflation everywhere and for our community, they get the hardest," said George Gundry, Glide's director of the Daily Free Meals Program. "They start out with the least and you know they need the most."

Tara Campbell: "Eric, tell me what it means to you to come here and get a meal today."

Eric Ebbinga: "You know this is just great. The churches do so much for people. Especially on Thanksgiving and Christmas."

"It's just such a warm feeling to see everyone give back and be here and give back," said Destinee Balagtas, who was volunteering Christmas Eve. "I love it. I want to do it every year."

The line for clothes donations wrapped around the block, while festive hats and four-legged friends helped make spirits bright.

MORE: Nonprofits provide holiday help for struggling Bay Area families this weekend

"There's nothing more important than hope. We all need hope," said Joe Betz, Owner, House of Prime Rib. For nearly three decades he's been donating to the Christmas Eve dinner.

"Hope," he said. "We all need hope. Some will hope to get a job, some will hope to have a meal."

As for Brandon, it's quite simple. "Hopefully, I have a nice warm place to go to bed tonight and that's all I can hope for."

In the meantime, he has a message. "I have two children who are staying with their grandmother and just wish them a Merry Christmas."

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