Giving thanks for lunch

Feeding 250 people is no easy task, especially when they say their favorite Thanksgiving food is "everything."

Preparations for Thanksgiving lunch at the Glendale Salvation Army started early and Director of Social Services Rick White was hard at work cooking 25 turkeys beginning at 5 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

Homeless men and women, low-income adults and senior citizens comprise a large number of the guests who come to the Salvation Army on Thanksgiving, but families also attend the event in significant numbers.

"We served 200 people last year," said White. "But we are definitely expecting an increase this year because of the economy."

The Salvation Army's gym was filled with dozens of tables, six place settings on each, as a dedicated team of volunteers circulated with full meals, including Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian and his two sons.

"It's great these volunteers come out and help, for at least one day a year," said Najarian.

Volunteers set up an assembly line to prepare plates, while others personally served the attendees. Others brought out drinks and classic Thanksgiving desserts – pumpkin and apple pie.

Gratitude and familiarity filled the room among those enjoying their food, though no one could agree what the best part of the meal.

"Oh it's all good," said Rocky Porter, 54, who has spent his Thanksgiving at the Glendale Salvation Army for the past 10 years.

Gregory Rubio, 50, has also attended Thanksgiving lunch at the Glendale Salvation Army for the past several years.

"I enjoy all Thanksgiving food, I'm not picky," said Rubio, who was joined by his mother on Thursday.

Rubio travels Eagle Rock for meals and plans to walk to Hollywood for a meal on Saturday.

He attends Thanksgiving in Glendale, his hometown, because of its central location.

This meal was among the first of the Salvation Army's holiday efforts.

The organization's annual toy drive will begin soon, as well as a number of food drives.

"We need to start collecting food now," Capt. Rio Rich said. "We don't just have hungry people in November, we have hungry in February and March too and need to start preparing now."

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