Southern California -- this just in

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Thousands line up for groceries, Thanksgiving meals

November 22, 2008 | 12:31 pm

In a sign of how strained families are just to put food on the table, more than 1,000 people are lined up today for bags of groceries at Montebello Park. (See photos here.) The single-file line is about a quarter-mile long, and some families have been waiting since 7 a.m.

At the end of the line, families are given a shopping cart and can select groceries for their Thanksgiving dinner.

As the holiday approaches, numerous food giveaways and food collections are taking place throughout the Los Angeles area today. The Los Angeles Regional Foodbank reports a 41% increase in food demand. The problem is, the organization has been able to boost food distribution by only 33%.

On downtown's Skid Row, the Union Rescue Mission has begun to serve 4,000 Thanksgiving dinners, an  annual event that draws so many people that San Pedro Street is closed off between 5th and 7th streets.

In South Pasadena, Boy Scouts are going door to door to collect canned goods, and in Alhambra, high school students are seeking food donations from neighbors. In Pasadena, leaders from local organizations planning to help 400 needy families showed up at the Rose Bowl to collect frozen turkeys and grocery bags full of dinner trimmings.

-- Ruben Vives