The Midnight Mission in Skid Row, Los Angeles,  Jan. 1, 2014. User:Moreau36 [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
The Midnight Mission in Skid Row, Los Angeles, Jan. 1, 2014. User:Moreau36 [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
While millions of Los Angeles-area residents will be opening presents Friday, there will also be several efforts to help thousands of the region’s poor on Christmas Day.

The Midnight Mission will conduct its annual Christmas Day Brunch and Santa’s Village for Los Angeles’ homeless and near-homeless population on Skid Row.

Entertainer Dick Van Dyke and KLOS-FM (95.5) personality Gary Moore will be among the volunteers serving traditional Christmas meals to thousands. Impoverished children will be able to select toys and meet Santa Claus.

There has been an enormous increase in demand for The Midnight Mission’s services this year, according to Georgia Berkovich, its director of public affairs.

The mission conducts job training, education and work programs. It also has a family living facility which provides  families with child care, tutoring programs and fiscal management, Berkovich said.

Union Station Homeless Services is expected to serve more than 1,500 meals at Pasadena’s Central Park to adults and families, senior citizens and people who are alone or unable to afford a holiday meal at its 43rd annual Dinner-in-the-Park event.

The Laugh Factory in Hollywood will conduct its 36th annual free Christmas Day Feast for anyone away from home, those who might be lonely, homeless or in need of a warm meal, a hug or laugh. Top comics will join other celebrities in helping serve each guest a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.

Comics will perform live shows following meals served at 1 p.m, 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Temple Israel of Hollywood’s 29th annual Christmas Dinner for the Hungry and Homeless will provide Christmas dinners for needy men, women and children at Hollywood United Methodist Church.

Traditional Masses and church services celebrating the birth of Jesus will be held at churches throughout the region, including the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, where Archbishop Jose H. Gomez will celebrate the 12:30 p.m. Spanish-language Christmas Day Mass. English-language Christmas Day Masses will be celebrated at the cathedral at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.

The 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Masses will be live-streamed at

Gomez will also celebrate Christmas Mass with inmates at the Men’s Central Jail.

“This Christmas, I am praying for you and your families,” Gomez said in his Christmas message. “I hope you will pray for me and my ministry.

“Let’s pray together for the poor, the lonely and the lost — and let’s pray that we can be a blessing in their lives and the lives of everyone we meet.”

Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis hopes Los Angeles County residents on Christmas “will spend some time reflecting and embracing the spirit of the holiday season by volunteering some time at local nonprofits or giving to those who are less fortunate.”

Solis told City News Service her Christmas wish is to reaffirm her commitment “to make the county family-inclusive for everybody, no matter their background, no matter where they come from, no matter how far down the scale they have been.

“We are all part of this family and this family does not leave anyone behind,” Solis said.

In his Christmas message, President Barack Obama said “today, like millions of Americans and Christians around the world, our family celebrates the birth of Jesus and the values He lived in his own life — treating one another with love and compassion, caring for those on society’s margins — the sick and the hungry, the poor and the persecuted, the stranger in need of shelter — or simply an act of kindness.”

—City News Service

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