Published Wednesday, November 29th, 2006 11:45AM
Angelides, volunteers help feed the homeless
By Hector Navejas / Vida En El Valle
SACRAMENTO — A generous Thanksgiving Day arrived last Thursday at the Salvation Army shelter on B Street in downtown Sacramento when hundreds of homeless lined up in the morning cold to receive a hot meal during the annual Thanksgiving Day Dinner.
"We are celebrating Thanksgiving Day by offering a meal to people who have no home or family, and the people in transition," said Elizabeth Gutíerrez, director of the Sacramento County Social Services Department.
"We got help from various social organizations, churches, businesses and community volunteers. Yesterday, for example, students from California State University, Sacramento helped decorate the local shelter for this celebration," said Gutiérrez.
Although he was scheduled for the program, the appearance of state Treasurer Phil Angelides and his wife, Julie, provided a surprise for the participants. The couple wore an apron and went to the kitchen where they began to serve meals.
"We're here as volunteers to help those who fight day to day, those who are the most vulnerable in our community," said Angelides.
"As I have said in the past, I will not back down. I will continue in the public arena fighting against the inequality in opportunities," said Angelides, who was soundly defeated in his race for governor earlier this month.
Dozens of volunteers continuously moved throughout the shelter, carrying trays of turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables and rich desserts. Others helped accommodate the groups of people who arrived for the meal.
"Last year we fed more than 500 persons, and this year we expect to serve approximately 800 people," said Capt. John Brackenbury, Salvation Army coordinator. "More than 50 volunteers have contributed their invaluable help in all areas of this celebration."
Gumercindo Hernández, 73 and a United States resident since 1957 when he worked as a bracero, said, "I was invited by this shelter because I have no family. I feel it's a good thing for all these people who don't have a place to live."
He added, "The food is very good and it's a blessing to celebrate Thanksgiving Day in this manner."
Bobby López, a volunteer and shelter client who wiped perspiration from his face while taking a break, said, "One feels good to help and be helped, because I believe the best is when we help each other not only on this day from everyday."