LA Mission treats homeless to gourmet Thanksgiving Dinner

Actress Mirelly Taylor on the serving line at LA Mission.

Actress Mirelly Taylor on the serving line at LA Mission.

                                                        This Story was first published in Examiner.com

What better way to get into the season of giving this Thanksgiving Holiday weekend than to head downtown to Los Angeles and volunteer to serve turkey dinner with all the trimmings to more than 3,000 homeless on Skid Row. It was a rare opportunity today (Wed., Nov., 26, 2014) to enjoy a special gourmet holiday meal on the day before Thanksgiving. The LA Mission annual event is sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank and the Los Angeles Mission on 5th Street in front of the Mission. This epicurean effort comes from a selfless group of LA’s top chefs (led by Chef Michael Voltaggio, chef/owner of ink.) working on site along with the Mission’s own kitchen staff.

The Los Angeles Mission serves some 3,500+ homeless people at a sit-down midday Thanksgiving meal,  a unique dining experience of newly created recipes served up by celebrities and political leaders.

The Los Angeles Mission serves some 3,500+ homeless people at a sit-down midday
Thanksgiving meal, a unique dining experience of newly created recipes served up by
celebrities and political leaders.
President Herb Smith, Los Angeles Mission gives volunteers a pep talk before serving thousands of homeless on Skid Row a Thanksgiving Dinner in downtown LA.
George McQuade III

At the sit-down midday meal, thousands enjoyed a unique dining experience of newly created recipes served up by celebrities and political leaders. The Los Angeles Mission welcomed its Skid Row neighbors to celebrate Thanksgiving with Mission friends and supporters who have a heart for helping people in need. The volunteers make a real difference by helping to foster a welcoming atmosphere of love and family.

LA Mission Thanksgiving eve on Skid Row.

LA Mission Thanksgiving eve on Skid Row.

“We serve more than half a million nutritious meals all during the year, none more important than this special Thanksgiving meal,” said Herb Smith, president, Los Angeles Mission. “We are touched that Chef Voltaggio works so tirelessly with his handpicked team of top chefs to create this unique meal. The Mission’s own kitchen staff works around the clock to help implement every aspect of our amazing meal. Every person on our staff throws themselves into making this work. The message to our guests is this: ‘we care for you like family.’”                                       

  Actress Donna Feldman on the serving line at the LA Mission

Actress Donna Feldman on the serving line at the LA Mission

Politicians and dignitaries helping out today included LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck, former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Executive Director Peter Lynn, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) to former Republican Congressman David Dreier. Some of the long list of Hollywood celebs included: Actress Donna Feldman, Actress Mirelly Taylor, Miss California Cassandra Kunze, Comedian George L

Former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Comedia George Lopez and George McQuade III volunteer at the LA Mission during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Comedian George Lopez and George McQuade III volunteer at the LA Mission during the Thanksgiving holiday.

opez, Actress Erica Ash, to Brian Tee, Wolverine

LA Mission Board Member, Marilyn McCoo (Fifth Dimension) encouraged everyone to volunteer if not on Thanksgiving but anytime is a good time to do it. “Homeless people are you and me,” she said. “We need to start treating them like human beings. You could be homeless, your whole family at no fault of your own,” she explained. McCoo was on hand with her husband and partner, Billy Davis Jr., of which both are still doing concerts across the country. “We are trying to change the lives of people and give them a second chance,” said Davis Jr. “They’re people working, but sleeping in their cars, because they can’t afford a home. One of the biggest blessings you’ll ever have is to come to the LA Mission and serve these people.”

Joining the McCoo and Davis Jr. was Four Seasons Hotel Owner, Beverly Collins, who said McCoo and Davis Jr. have been her inspiration to volunteer ever year at the LA Mission. “I am also here, because we all need to help,” she said. “You’re making a difference in people’s lives when you do.”

3,500 homeless Thanksgiving meals are served each year at LA Mission. For photos visit:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/+GeorgeMcQuadeIII/albums/6086264777703510465

3,500 homeless Thanksgiving meals are served each year at LA Mission. For photos visit:
LA MISSION PHOTOS

For more than 78 years, the Los Angeles Mission has served the people of Skid Row, providing emergency services such as shelter, food, clothing, as well as professional medical and dental services. In addition, the Los Angeles Mission also offers long-term residential rehabilitation programs including education, professional mental health counseling, job training/placement, and transitional housing.

“I the word is getting out about homelessness, the overall numbers are going up slightly, but I think we are making a difference especially with the chronically homeless,” said Smith. “I think the VA is stepping it up and there is public pressure and there is a focus, which opens the door to services we never had before for homeless veterans.”

Beverly Collins, Billy Davis Jr. and Marilynn McCoo at the LA Mission.

Beverly Collins, Billy Davis Jr. and Marilynn McCoo at the LA Mission.

Celebrities and celebrity chefs packed into the serving areas along with scores of volunteers, many from Wells Fargo Bank. “Celebrities bring attention to media and the media bring attention to the issue of homelessness,” explained Smith. “The biggest message is ‘thank you on Thanksgiving’. “We here to end homelessness, so please be thankful and be willing to give back to the community. “This day represents more than a meal to the Mission,” says Smith. “As we serve this feast, we want this experience to open up closed hearts. We are knocking on the doors of closed hearts today. We want people who are hurting to come in and share this meal with us.” Smith noted that Wells Fargo’s $50,000 donation to the Mission helps to support year round services to the homeless beyond holiday meals. The mission relies on private donations.

FOR MORE PHOTOS VISIT: GOOGLE+

LA Press Club honors Quincy Jones and Nancy O’Dell in Arts and Entertainment Journalism

This story was first Published on Examiner.com

Los Angeles Press Club honored Quincy Jones and Nancy O’Dell this week for Arts and Entertainment Journalism

The 7th Annual National Arts & Entertainment Journalism (NAEJ) Awards Gala honors reporters, photographers and critics across all media platforms. Quincy Jones (speaking) and Nancy O'Dell were also honored.
The 7th Annual National Arts & Entertainment Journalism (NAEJ) Awards Gala honors reporters, photographers and critics across all media platforms. Quincy Jones (speaking) and Nancy O’Dell were also honored.

President Robert Kovacik with honoree Co-Ancvhor Nancy O'Dell and her Entertainment Tonight producer of 20 years at the Los Angeles Press Club 7th Annual National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards. Quincy Jones was also honored.

Music Giant Quincy Jones received the Los Angeles Press Club’s Visionary Award, for his humanitarian work at the 7th Annual National Arts & Entertainment Journalism (NAEJ) Awards Gala in the famed Crystal Ballroom at the historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel, downtown L.A. Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014.

The Awards event spotlights the best journalists and critics across all media platforms. Jones was be introduced by Actress Tina Sinatra and had a sit down, candid onstage interview with NBC4’s Robert Kovacik. The Press Club awards were dedicated to Robin Williams who gave back to the community, especially to the homeless. From the moment he broke into America’s living rooms as Mork from the Planet Ork, Robin Williams was irreplaceable, as both an actor and a comic. He was remembered most for his films, “Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunted, where he earned an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. After Williams untimely death on Aug. 11, following a battle with depression, tributes poured in from friends and colleagues in Hollywood.

LA Press Club also handed Entertainment Tonight’s co-host Nancy O’Dell the Luminary Award. “Ms. O’Dell is one of the hardest working professionals in the business and truly deserving of this career achievement award,” said Press Club President Robert Kovacik of NBC4.
Nancy O’Dell (youtube) is the co-host of one of the most watched entertainment news programs, Entertainment Tonight. Among her many achievements she is also a producer, entrepreneur, philanthropist and author of three bestselling books. She is the creator of “Little Ashby: Star Reporter,” an educational series of children’s apps.

The 7th Annual National Arts & Entertainment Journalism (NAEJ) Awards Gala honors reporters, photographers and critics across all media platforms. The event included a silent auction, banquet and entertainment show hosted by Dan Lauria (The Wonder Years/Sullivan & Son) and Valerie Azlynn (Sullivan & Son) and included Comedian Alonzo Bodden
The “Journalist of the Year” award went to Jase Peeples, entertainment editor, THE ADVOCATE.
The Los Angeles Press Club is a nonprofit, 501© (3). For more info and the winners of last night’s event visit: http://LAPressclub.org.

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