In the early morning hours of Thanksgiving Day, Mayor Eric Garcetti joined Project Angel Food CEO Richard Ayoub, celebrity supporters and 225 volunteers and staff to prepare and deliver 7,400 meals on Thanksgiving Day for seriously ill and housing insecure people throughout 4,700 square miles of L.A. County.
Project Angel Food CEO Richard Ayoub said, “Mayor Eric Garcetti epitomizes what it is to be part of a community and lift one another through compassion and service. As he rolled up his sleeves and helped plate meals, he brought attention that while this is a day most of us are surrounded by people we love, we need to remember that some people don’t have that. He reminded us that no Angeleno should be alone and with a warm smile, a conversation and a meal, our volunteers can change the entire day for our clients, become angels in the City of Angels.”
For many of the celebrities joining Project Angel Food’s Thanksgiving Day volunteer pool, the day was about sharing the experience with family. Volunteers included Lisa Rinna and husband Harry Hamlin; “Weird Al” Yankovic with his wife Suzanne and daughter Nina; Cheyenne Jackson and husband Jason Landau with their twins Willow and Ethan; American Idolfavorite Ava Maybee with her mother, and Melissa Rivers with son Cooper Endicott, continuing her mother Joan Rivers’ legacy of volunteering on Thanksgiving. Avatar: The Way of Water star Trinity Bliss brought her parents just weeks before the December 16 release of the highly anticipated film.
Jackson said he brought his children because, “I want to teach my kids to be grateful and thankful for everything that we have, and when you have the capability to give to other people, do it.” He also talked about the death of friend Leslie Jordan, a Project Angel Food supporter who died exactly one month earlier. “He was one of my best friends and it hit me really, really hard like so many people,” he said.
Bliss said, “I’m so honored to work alongside so many people to bring a warm, delicious, tasty meal to people in need.” Of her much-anticipated film, Avatar: Way of Water, Trinity added, “Avatar was amazing, but I think Avatar: The Way of Water is going to be just so much more dramatic and be an experience people are going to need to experience in theaters.”
Rinna reflected on the fact that Project Angel Food is the primary source of food for most of its clients. “It’s so important because that is going to be their only meal of the day.” Hamlin added, “to have the opportunity to give back is amazing.”
Other celebrities included Eileen Davidson (RHOBH, Days of Our Lives), Peter Porte (Days of Our Lives), Juan Pablo Di Pace (DWTS, Fuller House), Olympian Tai Babilonia, Tim Bagley (Gracie & Frankie, Will & Grace), Michael Hitchcock (The Resort, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Lawrence Zarian (The Kelly Clarkson Show), Marc Malkin (Variety), James Wallington and Will Jardell (Amazing Race Season 32 winners), Romeo Escobar (Survivor 42 runner-up), and parenting author Donna Tetreault.
The 7,400 meals being delivered on Thanksgiving included 1,600 traditional turkey dinners to critically ill men, women, children and their caregivers, 5,600 Medically Tailored Meals and breakfasts regularly scheduled for Thursday delivery, and another 200 meals were provided to Project Angel Food community partner PATH for residents for two of PATH’s Interim Housing and Permanent Supportive Housing sites.
Volunteers provided contactless “drive-by” pick-up of the meals which were then delivered to Project Angel Food clients. Traditional Thanksgiving dinners consisted of roasted turkey, root vegetables, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and a slice of pumpkin cheesecake. Vegetarian meals were also provided. The meal was sponsored by the Stanley and Joyce Black Family Foundation with Glamazon (Amazon’s affinity group for the LGBT+ community) sponsoring the volunteer event.
Project Angel Food strives to end food insecurity and improve health outcomes of critically ill men, women and children in Los Angeles with Medically Tailored Meals, delivered with care and compassion. Over 2,500 clients are fed daily. Project Angel Food delivers 1.3 million meals each year.