By Carl Kozlowski 12/24/2014
Just because you may be having hard luck is no reason to be alone and hungry on Christmas. Union Station Homeless Services (USHS) is hosting its annual Holiday Dinner-in-the-Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, offering thousands of holiday meals and hope to anyone who is homeless, as well as seniors, very low-income families and those with no place to go for the holidays.
While Union Station is unable to accept more volunteers today, those willing to help can stop by and make a donation of $10 or whatever one can afford, or donate through unionstatonhs.org, to help underwrite the cost of the event and support their year-round mission. Those wishing to serve food are encouraged to register on the USHS site as a volunteer starting Nov. 1 each year for the Thanksgiving dinner, and starting Dec. 1 for the Christmas dinner.
The annual holiday meals have been serving up to 5,000 people each Thanksgiving and Christmas for the past four decades. The charity’s efforts were dealt a setback last year when the Pasadena Health Department Environmental Health Division Manager Liza Frias found that home-prepared food donated to the meals by thousands of area residents each year were violating the California Retail Food Code.
The code regulates how foods are produced for human consumption. Prior to the department’s crackdown, area residents would drive up to the event and hand off home-cooked turkeys, stuffing, mashed potatoes and green bean casseroles to volunteer servers.
People are still welcome to drop off nonperishable items, like canned goods, or packaged items such as a store-bought apple pie. People are also invited to make a monetary donation in lieu of cooked items.
Companies willing to make an impact on area homelessness throughout the year are encouraged to download the Corporate Sponsor Packet from Union Station’s website. Call (626) 240-4557 or visit unionstationhs.org all year round to find ways to help.