L.A. charities serve up presents, meals and laughter on Christmas Day

Zarela Lopez carries her 1-year-old daughter, Liesel Shanell Lopez, through a room full of toys to pick up some to take home in 2016.
(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

Christmas Day in Los Angeles County will include efforts in downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood and Pasadena to help the growing homeless population, along with traditional church services.

About 2,000 homeless men, women and children will be served a Christmas brunch at the Midnight Mission, according to Georgia Berkovich, its director of public affairs.

There will also be a Santa’s Village, where thousands of homeless and near-homeless children will be able to select toys of their choice and meet Santa Claus, Berkovich said.


Organizers have the goal of serving 1,000 meals of roast turkey to hungry and homeless individuals at Hollywood United Methodist Church. The church, which has long partnered with nearby Temple Israel of Hollywood, has added a third partner, the ILM Foundation, in an attempt to increase the number of people served.

Rabbi John Rosove, the Rev. Kathy Cooper Ledesma and Umar Hakim, the executive director of the foundation whose initials stand for intellect, love and mercy, turned to social media, creating the hashtag #Feed1000 to “spread our invitation to Christmas dinner to those in your orbit who might not otherwise hear of it,’’ Ledesma said.

In recent years the congregations served about 600 people on Christmas Day, while more than 800 were fed last year, according to Rosove.

Children will receive toys and adults will get personal care items.

Union Station Homeless Services expects to serve more than 500 plates of food to individuals and families experiencing homelessness or poverty, senior citizens, those who are alone for Christmas or unable to afford a holiday meal at the second annual Holiday at the Station at the Union Station Adult Center in Pasadena.

The Laugh Factory in Hollywood will conduct its 38th annual free Christmas Day Feast for anyone away from home, those who might be lonely, homeless or in need of a warm meal, a hug or a laugh. Top comics will join other celebrities in helping serve each guest a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.