Monthly Archive: November 2015

Top chefs prepare gourmet feast for the Homeless – celebrity volunteers in the serving line for Thanksgiving meals at the L.A. Mission


 Volunteer celebrities join the Thanksgiving dinner serving line for the homeless. There are nearly 45,000 in Los Angeles alone. Photo by George McQuade III

Wednesday, November 25th Los Angeles Mission Event

WHAT:     Men, women and children in need gather at the Los Angeles Mission for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner this Wednesday, November 25.

Wells Fargo Bank is the major financial sponsor of this event.

Practical help beyond the meal includes foot washing, new socks, blankets, and free tarps to help people on the street survive colder winter weather. There is also the opportunity for men and women to learn about the Mission’s long-term program to get off the streets.

Chef Michael Voltaggio leads a team of Los Angeles’ top chefs.  Joining him this year are Josiah Citrin (Mélisse), Ray Garcia (Broken Spanish and BS Tanqueria), Duff Goldman (Charm City Cakes) and others.

WHEN:    Wednesday, November 25, 2015 (the day before Thanksgiving)

4:00 am to 10:00 am: Live trucks may park in Mission parking lot located at 316 Winston Street (immediately adjacent to the kitchen)

4:30 am – Food preparation begins in the Mission kitchen.  Chefs on site early morning to prepare their own recipes.

Reporters welcome to join in food preparation with LA Mission kitchen crew.

Early morning breakfast served to overnight guests.

Live shot opportunity – lots of food prep visuals

6:00 am – 5th Street is closed to traffic

8:00 am – Event tent set-up begins.

Breakfast sandwiches served to all guests lining up for the event.

10:00 am to 4:00 pm: Live trucks park on San Julian Street dead end at 5th Street.

11:00 am – Thanksgiving meal service begins on the street

3:00 pm – Event ends


WHERE: Los Angeles Mission, 303 E. 5th Street, Los Angeles (Skid Row) CA 90013.  The event is on 5th between Wall Street and San Pedro.

WHO:       Celebrities, political leaders and chefs (listed above) along with other notables will be there to support the Mission by serving the homeless.

Editors Note:

  • Excellent opportunities for live TV segments in the early morning hours and at midday.
  • Radio remotes also accommodated.
  • Numerous still photo ops: celebrities and politicians serving the homeless plus many other compelling picture possibilities. Call for early morning location arrangements.

Operation Blankets of Love teams up with Wings of Rescue to save 1,000+ dogs

OBOL interviews

OBOL founders Brad and Eileen Smulson interviewing at the Wings of Rescue event that airlifted 1,000+ pets to new homes in the PNW.

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The day began with 1,000+ dogs and 24 planes lined up at the Van Nuys Airport Friday morning (Nov. 20, 2015). “This is our biggest holiday event of the year, where we are flying a thousand pets to safety,” said Cindy Smith, founder of Wings of Rescue, a nonprofit 501c that is a donation based charity. “We fly large numbers of at risk healthy pet’s long distances from high intake shelters to safety at no kill shelters throughout the United States and Canada,” explained smith as she loaded up more food, cages and blankets.

The emergency supplies of blankets, food, cages, and other pet necessities were supplied by Operation Blankets of Love (OBOL). OBOL works like the Red Cross, said Brad Smulson, OBOL cofounder, who drives hundreds of miles a week to provide blankets, food and supplies to scores of animal shelters and rescue organizations throughout the country.

“We are helping Wings of Rescue with their annual event, which includes more than 1,000 homeless animals, who will be airlifted to new homes across the United States,” said Smulson.

Brad Smulson discusses Wings of Rescue event.

Operation Blankets of Love providing supplies for Wings of Rescue airlift of 1,000 dogs today.

OBOL is also a nonprofit 501c founded by Eileen Smulson and her husband Brad. “These animals come from a dozen animal shelters that need a home,” said the Smulsons. “The community can help us, because we always need blankets and towels. We have drop-off locations throughout Southern California and pet lovers can make donations on our website,” he said.

animal rescue

Operation Blankets teams with Wings of Rescue to save 1,000 animals from dying in shelters.

OBOL is a grassroots, community-driven nonprofit animal welfare and emergency relief organization founded in 2008.  Its unique purpose is to improve the well-being and survival of homeless animals and increase chances for survival and adoption.

IMG_0804By improving homeless animals’ quality of life, OBOL’S services help them become more outgoing and affectionate, leading to increased adoptability and reduced euthanasia.  OBOL provides comfort and care items to shelters, rescues, pets of the homeless, sanctuaries, and improves the well-being of stray, sick, abused, and neglected homeless animals.IMG_0796

According to Wings of Rescue dogs of all ages including pregnant dogs and their newborn puppies – spend their last day in a shelter and are euthanized simply due to lack of space. Too many dogs, not enough homes.

Cofounder Brad Smulson, OBOL with Founder Cindy Smith, Wings of Rescue huddle to prepare 1,000 to be airlifted to new homes in the Pacific Northwest.

Cofounder Brad Smulson, OBOL with Founder Cindy Smith, Wings of Rescue huddle to prepare 1,000 to be airlifted to new homes in the Pacific Northwest.

Wings works every day to change that by providing desperately needed air transport for their rescue partners and the thousands of animals they save each year from high kill shelters in California.

animal rescues

Wings of Rescue Founder Cindy Smith teams with Operation Blankets of Love for the biggest annual animal rescue event of the year at Van Nuys Airport today.

“We fly these precious passengers in private airplanes to their new forever homes and rescue organizations up and down the west coast in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and even Canada,” Smith said.

Smith also noted that Wings of Rescue is the only all-volunteer organization to fly this number of pets to safety. They not only transport healthy dogs and cats but pregnant moms/moms with newly born babies/dogs with recent surgeries or animals in need of major surgical procedures. “Ground transport is not the best option for these animals due to the sheer length of the road trip which can be in excess of 24 hours in the same crate without any food, water or walks,” she said.  “Most of our flights are completed in 3-4 hours.”

Operation Blankets of Love provide blankets and supplies to keep the pets calm for the fliight.

Operation Blankets of Love provide blankets and supplies to keep the pets calm for the fliight.

Founded in 2009, Wings of Rescue has a squadron of volunteer pilots flying the rescue missions on their own planes, as well as a fleet of chartered cargo planes. The animal rescue organization has already saved more than 12,000 dogs and cats and is expected to rescue 7,000 more by the end of 2015.   “In 2016 we are hoping to fly 10,000 pets,” said Cindy Smith, Winds of Rescue. Since its inception, more than 16,000 pets have gotten their honorary “wings” and a new home.