In the early hours of Thanksgiving morning, Mayor Eric Garcetti joined Project Angel Food Executive Director Richard Ayoub, celebrity supporters and 225 volunteers and staff to prepare and deliver 7,400 Thanksgiving meals to the seriously ill and insecure who live in 4,700 square miles of LA County. .
Project Angel Food Executive Director Richard Ayoub said, “Mayor Eric Garcetti epitomizes what it means to be part of a community and lift one another up through compassion and service. As he rolled up his sleeves and helped with the meals, he pointed out that while this is a day most of us are surrounded by people we love, we need to remember that some people don’t have that . It reminded us that no Angeleno should be alone, and with a warm smile, a conversation and a meal, our volunteers can change the entire day for our customers, they become angels in the City of Angels.”
For many of the celebrities who joined Project Angel Food’s Thanksgiving group of volunteers, the day was about sharing the experience with family. Volunteers included Lisa Rinna and husband Harry Hamlin; “Weird Al” Yankovic with his wife Suzanne and daughter Nina; Cheyenne Jackson and husband Jason Landau with their twins Willow and Ethan; American Idol favorite Ava Maybee with her mother and Melissa Rivers with son Cooper Endicott, continuing her mother Joan Rivers’ legacy of volunteering on Thanksgiving. Avatar: The Way of Water star Trinity Bliss brought her parents along just weeks before the highly anticipated film’s December 16th release.
Jackson said she brought her kids because, “I want to teach my kids to be thankful and grateful for everything we have, and when you have the ability to give to other people, do it.” He also spoke about the death of friend Leslie Jordan, a Project Angel Food supporter who died exactly one month earlier. “He was one of my best friends and it hit me really, really hard, like so many people,” he said.
Bliss said, “I am so honored to work alongside so many people to bring a warm, delicious and tasty meal to people in need.” Of her much-anticipated film, Avatar: Way of Water, Trinity added: “Avatar was amazing, but I think Avatar: The Way of Water will be much more dramatic and an experience that people will need to experience . in movie theaters.”
Rinna reflected on the fact that Project Angel Food is the primary source of food for most of her clients. “It’s so important because this will be their only meal of the day.” Hamlin added, “It’s amazing to have the opportunity to give back.”
Other celebrities included Eileen Davidson (RHOBH, Days of Our Lives), Peter Porte (Days of Our Lives), Juan Pablo Di Pace (DWTS, Fuller House), Olympian Tai Babilonia, Tim Bagley (Gracie & Frankie, Will & Grace) , Michael Hitchcock (The Resort, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Lawrence Zarian (The Kelly Clarkson Show), Marc Malkin (Variety), James Wallington and Will Jardell (Amazing Race Season 32 winners), Romeo Escobar (Survivor 42 runner-up), and parenting author Donna Tetreault.
The 7,400 meals delivered on Thanksgiving included 1,600 traditional turkey meals to seriously ill men, women, children and caregivers, 5,600 medically customized meals and breakfasts regularly scheduled for Thursday delivery, and another 200 meals were provided to community partner Project Angel Food PATH for residents of two of PATH’s Transitional Housing and Permanent Supportive Housing locations.
Volunteers provided contactless “drive-by” pickup of the meals, which were then delivered to Project Angel Food customers. Traditional Thanksgiving dinners consisted of roast turkey, root vegetables, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, and a slice of pumpkin cheesecake. Vegetarian meals were also offered. The meal was sponsored by the Stanley and Joyce Black Family Foundation, and Glamazon (Amazon’s affinity group for the LGBT+ community) sponsored the volunteer event.
The Angel Food Project strives to end food insecurity and improve health outcomes for critically ill men, women and children in Los Angeles with medically tailored meals delivered with care and compassion. More than 2,500 customers are fed daily. Project Angel Food delivers 1.3 million meals each year.