More than 150 homeless people got an early Thanksgiving dinner Wednesday in W.O. Hart Park, served up by volunteers from the Telephone Pioneers of America.
The homeless come to the park each day to gather around picnic tables and eat a meal organized by local resident Mary McAnena, but once a year the telephone company volunteers take over the duty.
"It's almost a full two-month project because we start by sending out flyers to our building locations," said spokeswoman Jackie Beria, the group's liaison with Pacific Bell and AT&T. "Then we collect the food and prepare it."
Throughout the year, the group also donates food for the daily meal at Hart Park, Beria said.
Wednesday's 2 p.m. meal consisted of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, yams, mixed vegetables and pumpkin pie. Those who attended were also given sandwiches to eat for their evening meal.
About 20 20-pound turkeys were served, and volunteers spent much of the morning slicing the birds at the home of Louise Braga, who lives near the park. Braga is president of the Pioneers' arm of retired volunteers, the XYZ Life Member Club, which she says means "Xtra Years of Zest."
The Telephone Pioneers of America has 770,000 members in the United States and Canada and is in its 80th year. One of the first members was Alexander Graham Bell.