Glide Memorial Church to feed 5,000 people on Thanksgiving

San Francisco's Glide Memorial Church is whipping up Thanksgiving meals with all the fixings just in time for tomorrow's holiday celebration.

Volunteers will be dishing out enough turkey to feed 5,000 people all day long. Three-hundred turkeys to be exact. Not to mention the 200 hams, 3,000 pounds of potatoes and 2400 mini-pies.They'll start prepping the turkey Wednesday night and start assembling the plates early Thursday morning.

The line at Glide, which sits in the city's famously gritty Tenderloin neighborhood, typically wraps around the corner, especially on Thanksgiving morning when the doors open at 10:30 a.m. It's a sight that has become a familiar one since the 1960s.

But Thanksgiving is just one day of the 364 days a year that Glide feeds countless homeless and seniors. Three times a day, the cafeteria is bustling. Seniors like John Dorsey have been coming here for years.

"I got hooked on it!" Dorsey said, laughing. Dorsey is not homeless, he lives nearby, but he survives on a tight budget so the free meals at Glide have been a godsend. 

"It means a lot, especially to people who don't have a place to go, you know, big service,” Dorsey said.

On Wednesday, volunteers handed out chicken sandwiches, but on Thursday, turkey, of course, will be the highlight of the holiday meal.

"Nobody should go hungry on Thanksgiving Day, nobody. And if so, we still got a big job to do!" said Reverend Cecil Williams, who is now wheelchair bound, but remains as passionate and feisty as ever.

"This is exactly what we have here, a lot of people coming from all classes, races and relationships,” said Rev. Williams. “And they're coming together to form some kind of meaning.”

San Francisco Police Department Chief William Scott recognizes the communal aspect of the church's move. He notes that it's what San Francisco is all about

Chief Scott, along with the mayor, lent a helping hand this morning.

"I'm adding my thanks by not only cutting turkeys with them but serving meals and being the public servant with them," said Mayor Ed Lee.

"We're first responders to a lot of unhappiness on the streets and we try and make people's lives better, they call us in their times of need, so similarly, we want to be there tomorrow for them because many of them do not have homes to go to or families to help feed them," said Chief Joanne Hayes White.

And the extra hands are from the younger crowd, too. 

"I wanted to come here to help out the homeless because they're in need for like food a lot and I usually see them digging in the trash for food and it like breaks my heart," said eighth grader Clayton Grace, who traveled from Greenbrae to pitch in.

Glide will dish out turkey plates from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and then bag lunches until they run out.