Loaves & Fishes provides free Thanksgiving lunch for hundreds in Sacramento

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- Thanksgiving came early Tuesday for hundreds of people in downtown Sacramento.

Loaves & Fishes opened its doors to people for no-questions-asked holiday meals.

Three hundred turkeys, 150 pounds of potatoes, 10 cases of stuffing, eight cases of yams, 40 gallons of juice, and 350 pies are just a fraction of the food that goes into the annual Loaves & Fishes Thanksgiving lunch.

And the hidden ingredient?

"You gotta put a little bit of love in it, man," said volunteer Akira Bailey.

That love is found in every potato masher, gravy brewer and pastry arranger.

"We’re not just trying to feed people, we’re trying to actually make it tasteful. Make it yummy," Bailey said.

It's also shared across generations.

"My mom, she’s hard-working. She said always give back when you can," said Bailey's son, Jaden, who was also volunteering for Loaves & Fishes.

It's love that comes from more than sympathy for the hundreds of people who went to Friendship Park Tuesday for a lunch ticket, but also from empathy.

"I know what it’s like to be on that side," Akira said.

Seventeen years ago, Akira was a single, soon-to-be mom, trying to get on her feet.

"And I was down here for a while, and so my heart is in it," she told FOX40.

On Tuesday, she took time away from her two jobs to volunteer alongside about 50 people who committed to showing their thanks by giving.

"There’s a lot of people that come through here that don’t have the opportunity we do. And it's just that I thank God for it though," Jaden said.

Loaves & Fishes relies solely on the community to provide meals. Donations are always welcome.

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