SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - Many churches and charities are getting ready to serve Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow to thousands of people in need, but one San Francisco organization opened its doors today.
One of the people cooking all of those dinners was once homeless himself.
Thanksgiving dinner came a day early at City Team in the city’s South of Market neighborhood, where hundreds of people had nowhere else to go.
For those with no place to live and who often sleep outdoors, you might think they might not have much to be thankful for, but that’s not so.
“I’m just thankful for the love,” said one recipient of the meal.
One woman says she’s been sleeping in a tent the past year near Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. She left Kansas; she says she had no choice.
“I was living with a guy who was a control freak and he was abusive,” said Shawn Landrum-Teppish.
With little money and few options, she ended up homeless, but she hopes to support herself as a masseuse.
“I’m trying to work myself back up. I’m trying to do it for myself on my own terms. I’m not trying to stay homeless,” said Landrum-Teppish.
City Team expects to serve pre-Thanksgiving dinners to some 1,200 people, not just in San Francisco, but also in Oakland and San Jose.
One of those helping cook many of those meals is a man who was once homeless himself.
“I’ve been an alcoholic for years, but now I’m in recovery,” says Jay Cramer.
Cramer says alcohol cost him jobs, relationships and eventually his home, but he says City Team has helped him get sober and he wants to spend his time in the kitchen to give back.
“I know what it’s like not to have a good meal. I know what it’s like to go to sleep hungry,” he said.
City Team says there’s no question the high cost of housing is forcing people to the streets.
“A number of people who were in today are currently homeless and they weren’t a few months ago,” said Eric Venable, a City Team director in San Francisco.
Fortunately homelessness doesn’t have to be a life sentence, although measures that passed this month in San Francisco like Proposition Q, which banned tents on public sidewalks, have made it more difficult to be homeless in the city.
“I’m thankful for second chances,” Cramer said.