LOS ANGELES, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of needy people Wednesday
enjoyed Christmas dinner a day early on Christmas Eve as city officials and
Hollywood celebrities served up holiday meals at a charity agency in downtown
Job losses and home foreclosures have forced more people to turn to the Los
Angeles Mission, which saw an increase of 10 percent in meals served in the fall
months this year, as compared to last year, said Herbert Smith, president of the
Meanwhile, donations from the final quarter are down 15 percent as everyone
feels the economic hardship, according to Smith.
"We've got a crisis," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who
helped to dish up meals at the mission Wednesday.
An estimated 3,000 holiday meals were served and gifts were distributed to
about 600 children during the Christmas Eve event, charity officials said.
Villaraigosa stood side-by-side with newly elected county Los Angles County
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas in the serving line. Ridley-Thomas, whose district
includes South Los Angeles, vowed that county and city officials would
collaborate to address homelessness.
The family of Hollywood actor Bruce Boxleitner and his wife, actress
Melissa Gilbert, hosted the holiday dinner.