ANAHEIM (CBSLA.com) — Thousands turned out for a Thanksgiving meal from Orange County restaurant La Casa Garcia Thursday at the “We Give Thanks” turkey dinner, now in its 27th year.
An estimated 15,000 people turned out for the free meal, served at an outdoor kitchen at the Honda Center between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and featuring everything from turkey to pumpkin pie.
“We couldn’t afford to have turkey this year,” first-time guest Tanya Lopez said. “My husband works, so we didn’t want to be alone at home.”
Owner Frank Garcia, who started serving the event in 1986, says his motto has not changed.
“If everybody in the world would give a plate to a next door neighbor, there would be no hunger in the world,” he said.
After Garcia cut the first turkey, guests began to move through the food stations. Serving that many people required an army of volunteers, many who have made volunteering at the event a tradition of its own.
“It’s very exciting, I’ve been cutting pies all morning,” said one volunteer from Australia. “We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia so it’s fun to come out and help.”
“It’s good to come here, there’s great people, there’s great food. And without this, I don’t know,” guest C.J. Johnson said.
Leftovers from Thursday’s giveaway will go to three local homeless shelters.