Thanksgiving

Union Rescue Mission Frying Up Hundreds of Turkeys

"It's Thanksgiving all week at Skid Row," said Andy Bales, the CEO of the Union Rescue Mission.

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Most of us know what a big job it is to prepare a Thanksgiving meal, but imagine deep frying 300 turkeys.

That's what's happening in downtown LA where the Union Rescue Mission is preparing to feed thousands of people tomorrow.

For 24 hours, these deep fryers will be running nonstop, as the Union Rescue Mission prepares for its annual fried turkey feast, which will include all the fixings.

"All of the desserts you could ever imagine," said Andy Bales. "We feel like it has to be as welcoming as grandma’s house at Thanksgiving."

Bales is the CEO of the Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row, where 600 residents will have a sit down meal inside, while nonresidents will be fed outside.

"We choose Saturday, LA Mission does Wednesday, Midnight Mission does Thursday, so it's Thanksgiving all week at Skid Row," said Bales.

As the numbers of people living on Skid Row continues to rise, so do their daily struggles. "We had 600 medical calls, compared to 100 medical calls this quarter last year," explained Bales. "People are sicker and they are more mentally strained. It's been a tough couple of years."

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All the more reason for staff member, Benjamin Cook, to continue the tradition of setting up the fryers at 3:30 in the morning, then overseeing the frying of 300 turkeys.

"Not just thankful to do it, but thankful to help somebody, to give to somebody, to be a blessing to somebody and that’s what it’s about," said Cook.

Union Rescue Mission resident and volunteer turkey fryer, Marlon Thierry, says he'll be counting his blessings on Thanksgiving.

"For waking up another day doing the Lord‘s will and purpose, that’s what wakes me up every morning," shared Thierry.

It's a purpose shared by Bales who will not only be nourishing the appetites of 3,000 people, but also their souls. "Having people come up and say I’ve been on the streets for 40, 50 years and I love this time of year, thank you for what you do. I hear that all morning," he said.

Starting tomorrow at noon, they will give away turkey dinners to go and gift bags and no one will be turned away.

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