Roughly 5,000 people in downtown San Francisco sat down for a Christmas meal with friends, family and strangers at Glide Memorial United Methodist Church for one of the local church's longest-running community celebrations.
Some 500 volunteers dished up large portions of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and salad to the thousands of diners – most of them low-income San Francisco residents, Glide spokeswoman Denise Lamott said.
Several hundred diners filled their plates during breakfast at the church this morning, which was served from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., while most attendees came for the church's dinner meal from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., she said.
Diners today packed the church's meeting hall and grabbed seats wherever they could find one, including the building's window bays, Lamott said.
The spokeswoman credited the church's hundreds of volunteers for ensuring that each plate was generously filled today.
“It was a great day, spirits were up and the volunteers were happy to be there and people were happy to be served,” she said.
Lamott said the church – which provides meals to local low-income and homeless residents year-round – has seen more and more community members turn up for meal service over the past three years in the wake of the Great Recession.
In 2010 alone, the church served over one million meals, she said.