More Needy Than Ever Get Rescue Center Meals

A record number of needy and homeless people were served a traditional Christmas dinner Thursday at the Orange County Rescue Center in Santa Ana, which has been serving the poor for the past 24 years.

Joe Delaney, a worker at the center at 1901 W. Walnut St., said 2,537 people were fed turkey or ham dinners with all the trimmings. "They were lined up around the corner beginning at 10 a.m.," he said.

Those fed included families such as the one pictured above, in which Paula Hernandez of Santa Ana shares the meal with her daughter, Myra, 17 months, and her son, Pedro, 4 months. Children were also given a gift-wrapped toy and adults were handed a food package after eating, Delaney said.

He said that 1,300 blankets were also distributed.

However, one recipient said he needed more than a blanket. John Sebbas, in photo at left, 30, a Michigan native looking for work, said he has been living in the streets since arriving here recently.

"This is a nice blanket but I need a place to sleep," he said later while sitting on the sidewalk outside the rescue mission.

Delaney said the meal and the gifts were provided totally through private donations, a practice initiated four years ago.

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