Economy

Homeless Shelter In Downtown L.A. To Feed Thousands On Christmas Eve

CREDIT: LA Mission

Chef Govind Armstrong prepares green beans for 3,000 at the Los Angeles Mission on Christmas Eve.

They started lining up the night before the night before Christmas.

Some 3,000 people are expected to eat at the Los Angeles Mission in downtown on Christmas Eve, bringing a little Christmas spirit to Skid Row this year.

“I’ve been on the streets at Christmas time, and it’s very lonely,” one of the Mission’s volunteers, identified only as Joey, said. “Christmas means helping people and bringing people together. A lot of people don’t have that, and the Mission provides that for people in our community. [When I was on the streets] I felt like nobody cared. …All the donations and food bring smiles to a lot of people’s faces.”

The 75-year-old organization will also give out 1,000 toys to children and will distribute hygiene kits for adults.

“I can’t afford everything my kids want. So it would be a Christmas but it wouldn’t be the Christmas my kids would like,” parent Nicole Neely, waiting in line with her kids, told Fox 11 Los Angeles.

In the morning, volunteers began handing out breakfast sandwiches and cider to guests — some of whom had been waiting in line since the night before. The shelter is expected to serve Christmas Eve dinner between 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Los Angeles has struggled to house its homeless for decades, and Skid Row is the epicenter of the problem. In September, the city declared a state of emergency for homelessness. A decrease in affordable housing, increase in rents, and lack of adequate shelter space have combined to push homelessness in the area to more than 17,000 men, women, and children.

Among the celebrities who will volunteer are Emmy Rossum, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Lisa Rinna, Harry Hamlin, Tim Matheson, Niecy Nash, Garcelle Beauvais, Tommy Davidson, Kate Linder, Jacob Hopkins, Johnny Ortiz and Pat O’Brien, Fox 11 reported.