LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles Mission is holding their annual Easter event on Good Friday in downtown.
KNX 1070′s Pete Demetriou reports volunteers began preparing a feast for approximately 3,500 at 4:30 a.m.
Helpers also organized more than 1,000 Easter baskets and hygiene kits as well as 2,000 pairs of shoes, donated by etnies, which will all be given away to thousands of area homeless.
“The homeless are on their feet all day. They even sleep in their shoes, so they need a good pair of shoes that will last and will take care of them while they are out there on the streets,” Anika Haag of etnies said.
Etnies has participated in the event for the past 16 years and donated 38,000 pairs of shoes as a result.
“Sometimes we see them come up to the line with their dirty pair of shoes from last year so we know it’s the only pair of shoes they’ve gone in for the past year, so it really means a lot to us,” Haag said.
One recipient comes to the annual event just for the shoes.
“The way sneakers cost these days, it’s worth this blessing of getting them free down here,” he said.
The Mission, located at 5th and Wall Street in downtown, also opened a 1,200 square foot washing area staffed medical personnel and volunteers. Foot washing, which has both spiritual and practical applications for the homeless, will be provided by the Los Angeles Christian Health Centers.
“The organization partners with the Mission to use this opportunity to address the foot problems suffered by many on the streets of Skid Row,” officials said.
Easter dinner began at 11:00 a.m. with more than two tons of ham served, in addition to macaroni and cheese, snow peas and other tasty dishes. The event will end at 3 p.m.
“Get the babies some Easter baskets and enjoy some food, and some music and some prayer,” one mother said.
Numerous celebrities and public officials are also expected to participate in Friday’s event including Danielle Fishel from Boy Meets World, Miss California Leah Cecil, Booboo Stewart and Judi Shekoni from the Twilight series, and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Two local companies are also offering a way for Angelenos to get involved in the LA Mission’s Easter event.
Twitter users use the hashtag: #SkidRowEaster and SizzlePitch, a production company, and Gardein, a health food company, will donate $1 to the mission to help feed the homeless.
The entire block of 5th Street between Wall and San Pedro will be closed to vehicular traffic from 6 a.m. Friday through the late afternoon.