Anne Alvarez

Being Thankful on Thanksgiving, and Always

By Anne Alvarez

Venice’s spirit shone upon Thanksgiving. It was a beautiful day for our less fortunate, and often invisible, Venice residents, many of whom started their day off with a holiday feast and warm welcoming smiles from the volunteers at the dinner held at the Venice Basketball Courts.

Spearheaded by Anthony Perez from the “Send Me a Penny Foundation”, in conjunction with Pastor Eric Tietze’s  “Heart of Compassion”. Both men are equally dedicated to ending hunger city wide.

Dozens of local volunteers, eager to give back any way they could, baked fresh goods. Others donated clothing, and all donated their warm and generous spirits to make this a special day for those that are so often forgotten. Ashley Adams and her girlfriend, Rebekah Soto, heard about the event online and happily donated their time. As did Santa Monica resident, Teresa Russell, who has been doing this for the past few years, donating clothes and helping out at the food line.

About 10 tables comprised one very large buffet table, filled with turkey, ham and all the side dishes and desserts one can imagine. Over 300 people were fed, with many taking large plates and bags of food to go. The smiles on everyone’s faces were priceless, such as Gregory Crumby, a Venice musician who has fallen on hard times for the past 6 years, and didn’t imagine he would be celebrating Thanksgiving this year. Gregory, accompanied by Tommy Mingo, heard about the feast being provided near the basketball courts from 7-9AM, and cheerfully showed up and ate all the holiday favorites that we so often take for granted.

Many thanks went out to “New Community Jewish High School” whose students began a campaign to donate 20 turkeys to the event, and were so successful, they wound up surpassing that number and donating 32.


If you would like to share in the laughter and fill your hearts and spirits with joy, you are encouraged to join the next holiday event taking place Christmas day at OFW Basketball Courts from 7-9AM.

If you are unable to make it to this event but would like to contribute:


Heart Of Compassion (323) 727-7997

Send Me A penny Foundation (310) 619-3885