Salvation Army, GLIDE serve up holiday meals throughout San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Even on Christmas Eve, the assembly line doesn't stop in the kitchen at the Salvation Army's South of Market location in San Francisco.

About 30 volunteers are here preparing meals for those in need.

For 30 years, Mary Martis has been a volunteer at the Salvation Army. She says she is motivated by how many people need help in San Francisco.



"They are getting younger. It's sad," says Martis. "You see a lot of senior citizens with no place to go, and you are starting to see a lot of people in their 20s."

The Salvation Army will provide 4,000 meals on Christmas. Their lunch boxes are made up of ham, rice and vegetables. The meals will be stored overnight, and then warmed up Christmas morning starting around 5 a.m., and delivered starting at 8 a.m.

Lindsay Allen delivered meals last year with her family. They are back again this year.

"It's very positive, upbeat," says Allen as she describes the mood in the kitchen. "Everyone's in a good mood. Everyone is just willing to help out."



And over at GLIDE in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood, hundreds of people lined up for Christmas Eve lunch. About 100 volunteers served 3,000 meals.

Formosa Reeves says this is a big day for her. It's one of the biggest meals she will eat all year.

"It's very important. And it's so beautiful. And the people are so cheerful and nice and kind. It makes it so complete for this Christmas," she says.

GLIDE staff says in the past five years, they are serving more families with young kids and more people dealing with mental health issues.

"If you look back 30, 40 years, when we started to discontinue funding around mental health care, you can start to see that this is the result," says Jean Cooper, with chief of staff at GLIDE.

Cooper says the increase in the number of needy in San Francisco is because the city attracts people for some very specific reasons.

"San Francisco is safe. It's a safe place. It's tolerant. So I think people actually come here because they can find services," she explains. "You can't find these services you have in San Francisco in other parts of the state or even in the nation."


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