LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Thousands gather for a Thanksgiving feast in downtown Los Angeles where more than 300 volunteers dish up more than just a meal.

The outdoor event featured live music, face painting and a holiday meal with all the trimmings.

For Darrius, the Midnight Mission has been home for the past 90 days.

“I got tired of being broke, disgusted and just hopeless. I got hope now,” he told KNX 1070’s Maraget Carrero.

Darrius added that events like the traditional Thanksgiving dinner are powerful ways to infuse those in need with nourishment and optimism for a brighter future.

For some, the event was chance to volunteer as a family.

“It’s very important to help people,” Ana Majeski said.

“If you don’t have that in your life, I think something is missing,” her husband, Alex, added.

Actor Dick Van Dyke has been giving of his time for the past 15 years and says he’ll continue to do so as long as he can.

“It’s not a holiday for me unless I come down here. This is the real holiday,” he said.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck also helped served during the annual event.

Food bags and donated clothing were also distributed.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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