Loaves and Fishes Hosts Early Thanksgiving Dinner for Homeless Community

SACRAMENTO -- A healthy meal for those without homes is a daily offering at Loaves and Fishes, which serves an average of 500 people a day.

But their annual Thanksgiving meal will host twice that many.

Thanksgiving is the only day Loaves and Fishes is closed. Over the years their early Thanksgiving has become well known.

"They provide us with this dinner and sometimes we don't have the money to do it because we live on the streets, it costs a lot. So thank you Loaves and Fishes," said George Williams, who is homeless.

Tuesday was a big day for both diners and volunteers but Loaves and Fishes is not just about food.

Volunteer organizations provided winter clothing items, some of them homemade, just in time for the change in weather.

But throughout the year, Loaves and Fishes and its Friendship Park is a natural center for homeless services.

"VA benefits, MediCal, Medicare, food stamps, all those various things. We have our Mustard Seed School, which is our emergency school for homeless children," said Loaves and Fishes Development Director Kala Haley-Clark.

There was a different vibe Tuesday, which was all about volunteers and the homeless coming together to appreciate what they have.

It was also a special day for Val Starr, who sings with the Loaves and Fishes Good Time Blues band.

"My mother, brother and my nephew's family all lost their homes in the Camp Fire and my heart is with you. I know what you're going through," Starr said.

The warm feeling generated on Tuesday helped bolster the outlook for people like Eric Polder, who was giving thanks.

"Every day I live a life, it's a wonderful thing," Polder said. "I look for a job and just trying to better myself. Just because you're homeless doesn't mean you can't better yourself."