Thanksgiving came early to hundreds of families in Long Beach Monday.
A banquet called "Serving With A Thankful Heart" served more than 1,500 meals to families in need Monday at Ernest McBride Park in Long Beach.
By the time the holiday season is over, there will be dozens more events like the one in Long Beach to help the needy.
"We're trying to save up some money, so we're not doing anything," said Nora Herrera, a Long Beach resident. "So we came here today."
In the district of Long Beach, more than 30 percent of families are living in poverty, according to recent data from the U.S. Census, now being featured on patch.com websites across the nation, including those of many Los Angeles area communities.
The data, being shared on Thanksgiving week, is being featured in maps to bring awareness about people in need, according to the hyperlocal news websites.
NBC4 found that even in affluent communities, like some in the South Bay, there are thousands of families struggling this holiday season.
"There are 500 families that receive assistance on a monthly basis to help with their cost of housing," said Joe Hoefgen, director of community services for the city of Redondo Beach.
There are 2,000 families on the waiting list for those services, according to Hoefgen.
"People think beyond themselves, and their own tables," Hoefgen said.
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