Following a year’s absence because of coronavirus-related restrictions, Thanksgiving in Los Angeles County was once again marked with events feeding the poor and homeless and distance runs, including several benefiting charitable causes.
The Midnight Mission served Thanksgiving brunch to nearly 2,000 homeless and near-homeless individuals and families, according to Georgia Berkovich, its director of public affairs.
Some 3,500 pounds of turkey was served, topped with 50 gallons of gravy, 3,500 pounds of ham with glaze, 1,000 pounds of garlic mashed potatoes, 750 pounds of seasonal vegetables, 250 pounds of cranberry sauce, 300 pounds of dinner rolls and 300 pounds of dessert, Berkovich said.
Before the 10 a.m. brunch, the ninth annual Turkey Trot Los Angeles was held in downtown Los Angeles beginning at 8 a.m. The run was expected to raise $100,000 for The Midnight Mission to help those experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles.
The field included runners dressed as turkeys, pilgrims and pies.
The 5K and 10K races started and ended at City Hall. The course took runners around Grand Park and past the Disney Concert Hall, Broad Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art.
Organizers estimated this year’s event would have about 4,000 participants, including those participating on a virtual basis.
The Drumstick Dash LA is billed by organizers as Los Angeles’ largest 5K/10K run, with thousands of runners, joggers and walkers taking to the streets of the NoHo Arts District. All proceeds will help Hope of the Valley provide over 500,000 hot meals for homeless men, women and children, organizers said.
All entry fees for the fourth annual Rose Bowl Turkey Trot will benefit the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation, which seeks to preserve, protect and enhance the Rose Bowl Stadium, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2022.
Runners also had an opportunity to donate to Race to Erase MS, which is dedicated to the treatment and ultimate cure of multiple sclerosis and increasing awareness of the disease.
Other turkey trots were scheduled in Claremont, Long Beach, Santa Clarita and Torrance.
Each year on Thanksgiving Day, more Americans participate in running races than on any other day, according to the running industry trade group Running USA.
The Laugh Factory in Hollywood hosted its 41st annual free Thanksgiving Dinner, with seatings at noon and 2 p.m. Top comedians, including Tiffany Haddish, Dane Cook and Craig Robinson, were on the bill this year, Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada said.
Proof of vaccination was required. The club was providing unvaccinated individuals with a certificate to get COVID-19 vaccinations or booster shots at El Proyecto del Barrio clinics in the Los Angeles area, and offered to cover the cost of their transportation to the clinic.
Anyone unable to attend could also pick up a free vaccination certificate at Laugh Factory Hollywood.
Participants who are unvaccinated received a Thanksgiving meal to go and a gift card to redeem their vaccination certificate at the clinic. Those redeeming their COVID-19 vaccinations at El Proyecto clinics will be invited back to Laugh Factory Hollywood on Christmas Day for another holiday meal and receive a cash reward for getting their vaccination.
Everyone attending the event was also required to observe Los Angeles County public health protocols by wearing a mask. The Laugh Factory provided a mask to anyone who didn’t have one.
“We know that laughter is healing and we need laughter now more than ever after all we’ve been through,” Masada said.
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