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Thousands attend annual Thanksgiving dinner at Glide Memorial Church

850 volunteers from throughout Bay Area help San Francisco church in its work for the needy

Hundreds of volunteers and thousands of homeless and at-risk San Franciscans congregated Thursday at Glide Memorial United Methodist Church for an annual Thanksgiving celebration, and the church is now preparing for the December holidays.

Approximately 850 volunteers showed up Thursday, working in two-hour shifts, said Denise Lamott, a spokeswoman for the church.

"We had about 150 volunteers that started at about 6 a.m., carving turkeys and ham and dicing veggies for salads," Lamott said.

The celebration started with a breakfast between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., and was followed by a Thanksgiving dinner from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Approximately 5,000 meals were served by volunteers who came from throughout the Bay Area and beyond, Lamott said. "I met a man at 6 a.m. who drove in with his teenage daughter from Tracy."

Although Glide received fewer donations of turkeys and hams for this year's event, Lamott said she was not aware of anyone who had to be turned away from the Thanksgiving dinner. In addition to receiving food donations, the church uses monetary donations from a variety of sources to purchase much of the food it serves.

Glide, which provides meals every day to homeless and at-risk people in San Francisco, has a number of events coming up in December and is always seeking volunteers and donations, Lamott said. Glide will be hosting a grocery bag giveaway, a toy giveaway and a Christmas Day meal, among other events.

The church provided about 2,600 meals each day this year, a 29-percent increase over 2007, according to Lamott.

Glide is located at 330 Ellis St. For more information on the church, or to donate to the Glide Foundation, visit www.glide.org.

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