Follow Me on Instagram


Making a Difference One Pie at a Time: The LA Mission’s Thanksgiving Celebration

November 21, 2017

Photos by Ian Bailey for the Los Angeles Mission

When I got word that the Los Angeles Mission lost the sponsor that provides 600 sweet potato pies for their Thanksgiving celebration, I had to do something.  No matter how busy I was that week, no matter what calls and appointments I had to postpone, I felt like I had to help.  I picked up the phone, texted my good friend and business partner Nicole and asked for her help.  She jumped at the opportunity to accompany me to Downtown Los Angeles and get our hands full of flour to make sweet potato pies for one day.

Our day consisted of lots of back breaking work.  From mashing and whisking 200 pounds of sweet potatoes, to hours of kneading and rolling pie dough. Needless to say we were sore for the next two days but so happy, feeling accomplished and fulfilled.  Even if it was just because we made pies. We helped make someone’s Thanksgiving a special one.

We met lots of wonderful people, include The Mission’s head chef David Thomas.  Chef Thomas guided our way through the Mission’s kitchen and he made us laugh with his cheerful personality.  The dynamic in the kitchen was energetic, happy and abuzz with excitement.

The Mission not only hosts a Thanksgiving celebration.  It provides food, clothing and shelter to the homeless of Skid Row, as well as a long-term rehabilitation program to help people get off the streets permanently.  The 12 month program features psychological counseling, educational services, drug & alcohol counseling, job training – in addition to a place to stay.  There is no charge for services at the Mission.

The Mission serves 1,500 meals each day: breakfast, lunch and dinner.  In addition to providing meals for the “students” in our program, they provide meals to their “friends and neighbors” who come in from the streets, and who stay in the emergency shelter beds each night.

As a faith-based (Christian) nonprofit, the Los Angeles Mission does not take government funding.  Its budget comes from the generosity of the community.  People who want to support the Mission can go to The Los Angeles Mission website and make a donation, they can give food and clothing donations on site (or if large quantities, they will do the pick-up), and they can volunteer.

Photos by Ian Bailey for the Los Angeles Mission

Their Thanksgiving celebration will be held tomorrow, November 22, 2017.  The media is welcome to attend and spread awareness about what The Los Angeles Mission is about. Below is a timeline of the event.



Celebrity Volunteers Serve

WHAT: Men, women and children in need gather at the Los Angeles Mission for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner (on the day beforeWednesday, November 22.

Wells Fargo Bank is the major financial sponsor of this event.

Practical help beyond the meal includes: foot washing, new socks, hygiene kits and blankets to help people on the street survive colder winter weather.  There is also the opportunity for men and women to learn about the Mission’s long-term program to get off the streets and change their lives.

WHEN: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 (the day before Thanksgiving)

4:00 am to 10:00 am: Live trucks may park in Mission parking lot located at 316 Winston Street (immediately adjacent to the kitchen)

4:30 am – Food preparation begins in the Mission kitchen.  Chefs on site in early morning hours to help prepare their own recipes.  (Chef Michael Voltaggio, Chef Josef Centeno, Chef Evan Funke, Chef Adam Sobel, Chef Steve Samson and Chef Adam Cole along with Actor/chef Jonathan Sodowski are scheduled.)

Reporters welcome to join in food preparation with the kitchen crew.

5:00 am – Early morning breakfast served to overnight guests.

Live shot opportunity – lots of food prep visuals

6:00 am – 5th Street is closed to traffic

8:00 am – Event tent set-up begins.

Breakfast sandwiches served to guests lining up for the event.

10:00 am to 4:00 pm: Live trucks park on San Julian Street dead end at 5th St.

11:00 am – Thanksgiving meal service begins on the street

3:00 pm – Event ends


WHERE:  Los Angeles Mission, 303 E. 5th Street, Los Angeles (Skid Row) CA 90013.  The event is on 5th between Wall Street and San Pedro.

WHO:  Celebrities, political leaders along with other notables will be there to support the Mission by serving the homeless. 

Scheduled to appear (11 am to 1 pm shift): Emmy Rossum, Minnie Driver, Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Katzenberg, Nick Cannon, Tim Matheson, Robert Carlyle, Sam Esmial, Heather Morris, Geoff Stults, George Stults, Jenna Ortega, Maureen McCormick, Garcelle Beauvais, Jen Lilley, Kate Linder, John Savage, John Bradley, John Ross Bowie, Donna Mills, Stafan Kapicic, Camryn Manheim, Milo Manheim, Madisyn Shipman, Hannah Zeile, Sherri Shepherd, Marci Miller, Andrea & Faith Schroder, Billy Flynn, Camila Banus, Melissa Rivers, Phil Rosenthal, Monica (Horan) Rosenthal, Blanca Blanco, Miss California India Williams, Miss California Teen USA Jaanu Patel, Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Former Congressman David Dreier, Congressman Jimmy Gomez, State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, State Assembly Member Miguel Santiago, LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn, LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Police Chief Charlie Beck, Sheriff Jim McDonnell, and many more.

1 – 3 pm shift: Chandler Riggs, Carla Jiminez, LA Reid, Bernard David Jones,  Kenny Leu, Natasha Blasick, Victoria Vida, Shar Jackson, Chrissie Fit, Joey Luthman, Christina DeRosa, Brandon Molale, Abby Donnelly, Joe P. Harris, Corey Calliet, Brandon Tyler Russell, Elise Luthman, Areva Martin, Zachary Haven, Natasha Wanigatunga and many more.