Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Volunteers Provide a Reason for Thanks . . . through Giving

Twas the night before Thanksgiving, and all through the kitchens . . . No, Santa was nowhere in sight, but volunteers all over the Los Angeles area were just as busy as the elves up north, maybe even more so. There were thousands of homeless to feed and even more pounds of turkey to prepare. And these volunteers, including adults and children from Orange County, were happy to do it (some would say they appeared downright jolly).

Between families and other individuals, there were over 75 people from Cypress Church who joined with Faith in Christ Ministries, a Los Angeles based-ministry led by Pastor Joe Browne to serve meals on Thanksgiving in MacArthur Park. That location was only one of several sites where food was provided by the ministry’s volunteers, many of whom have made it an annual tradition to help Pastor Browne feed thousands of LA's homeless and poor on this special day of thanks . . . and giving.

Along with families looking for a way to give to those less fortunate, there were others wishing to do the same. Students from Cypress Church's youth ministry participated, as well as the "Knights from the Holy Grill," a group of volunteers who travel with a portable barbeque that is used at charitable functions all over the Southland throughout the year.

During the wee hours of the morning volunteers of all ages prepared turkeys, potatoes, dressing, gravy, beverages, desserts and more. After a time of praise and thanksgiving to God, they spread out to their appointed locations where those in need received a hearty meal. The majority of volunteers went through the food line and, after collecting a plate of food, handed it to those in need, providing a personal touch and thanksgiving greeting.

Even for some of the volunteers, life has gotten much harder in the last year – lost jobs, lost homes and health issues are just some of the hardships that they have endured. "But what has not changed," says Pastor Browne, "is the gratifying experience of briefly sharing in a time when people from different communities and ethnic backgrounds come together to celebrate Thanksgiving together."
"We believe everyone deserves a meal," he adds.

In addition to serving dinner, the volunteers provided special activities for the children of the homeless and poor, passed out donated clothing and picked up trash, making sure they left the park cleaner than it was before they came.

Cypress Church cooperates with many other churches, ministries and missionary organizations to serve the needs of the local community as well as Los Angeles, New Orleans and other locations around the world. During Christmas week the "Knights of the Holy Grill" will prepare food for other needy families. In addition, there are many opportunities for the public to become involved in serving others.

The church campus is located at 6143 Ball Road just east of Valley View. Information about volunteer opportunities is available at (714) 952-3001. Sunday Worship Services are held at 8:45 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. The church website is located at:

Photo caption – Volunteers preparing part of the Thanksgiving meal that was served at MacArthur Park in Los Angeles. Cypress Church was one of many churches in Orange County and Los Angeles that participated in the event that feeds several thousand people every year.

Cypress Church - 6143 Ball Rd. - Cypress, CA 90630 - Phone: (714) 952-3001 -

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