Free Thanksgiving dinner in L.A. at Laugh Factory, other sites

Free Thanksgiving meals are being offered at many sites across Southern California

Free Thanksgiving meals are being offered today at many sites across Southern California, with volunteers serving those who are homeless or just hungry.

At the Hard Rock Cafe on Universal CityWalk, volunteers will be hosting 60 Easter Seals clients and their support staff beginning at 10 a.m.

Clients are the disabled who, with Easter Seals staff, made the move from institutions to independent living at homes throughout Los Angeles County. The staff members dining with them work holidays away from their own families, so a holiday turkey dinner is a welcome thing.

The Laugh Factory is offering free Thanksgiving dinners for a 35th year. All are welcome and get a free stand-up show in the bargain. 

Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada said the happy event originated from a sad incident. A performer who was failing in Hollywood "didn't want to go back home for a holiday, and he killed himself," he told Variety. So, in 1979, Masada decided to "have a little dinner for everybody, like a family." 

Comedians drop in every year to help serve. This year, the club says that group includes Dane Cook, Kevin Nealon, Tim Allen, Shawn Wayans and Tom Arnold. Seatings are at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. The venue is at 8001 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. Call (323) 656-1336 for reservations.

Here are a few other places that are putting the "giving" in Thanksgiving today:

-- Norco's Silverado Burgers will have free dinner and music from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 1091 6th St. The eatery encourages those working the holiday to "get a to-go box."

-- In downtown L.A., the Midnight Mission hosts its annual "brunch" and street fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 601.S. San Pedro St.. Bags of food and donated clothes will be handed out at the event.

-- The Fred Jordan Mission is setting up its tables in the middle of 5th Street for its 70th Thanksgiving Feast in the Streets. The mission is at 445 Towne Ave.

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