You still have a little time to donate to Glide’s Toy Wonderland toy drive that will provide 2,000 toys to SF kids in need, and of course the gigantic House of Prime Rib Christmas Eve brunch is slated to serve 3,000 pounds of prime rib on Sunday.
The holidays are busy times at San Francisco’s charitable giving powerhouse known as Glide. During last month’s Thanksgiving celebration, the interdenominational church known for feeding the needy served turkey dinner to an estimated 2,400 people, according to NBC Bay Area. Then two weeks later, their annual Grocery Bag Giveaway provided 4,400 families with food for holiday meals.
🍂🦃 Happy Thanksgiving from GLIDE! 🧡 A big thank you to our staff & volunteers for your dedication. Your efforts help us provide Thanksgiving meals to those in need. 🥧🍽️ Let's spread joy & compassion together. #GlideInAction #Thanksgiving #GlideHolidays 🧡🍁 pic.twitter.com/brSIHmewK8— GLIDE (@GLIDEsf) November 23, 2023
But as we had into the week before Christmas, SFist spoke with some of Glide’s leaders about two of their biggest and most challenging events of the holiday season; Tuesday’s Toy Wonderland which will provide more than 2,000 holiday gifts to kids in need, and the grandaddy of them all, Glide’s House of Prime Rib Christmas Eve Brunch at which more than 3,000 pounds of prime rib will be served.
The toys are being packed in the Glide pews with care as of Monday afternoon, as we see in the photo above of new Glide CEO Dr. Gina Fromer, who along with volunteers are packing more than 2,000 gifts to be spread among around 200 kids. That means each kid gets a generous bag of multiple gifts. Volunteers will be packing and sorting toys at Glide until well into Monday evening, in advance of Glide’s Toy Sort & Giveaway scheduled for Tuesday, December 19 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
“The Tenderloin is home to the highest concentration of children in San Francisco,” Glide media relations manager Gabby Deyi tells SFist. “After the pandemic, with that amount of food insecurity and job loss, with the economic inflation that we’re all experiencing, a lot of families are sacrificing their holidays — especially giving gifts to their children — in order to do other things, whether that’s buy a car seat, or feed their family. There’s actually a lot of kids who may not be experiencing the holidays the way that we may have been fortunate enough to.”
They’ll still be accepting and sorting toys until 8 p.m. Monday night, and you can drop by and make toy donations. (Note: They don’t take toys that represent guns or weapons, and they prefer toys that reflect the diversity of the community.)
Then Sunday, December 24 is Glide’s famed House of Prime Rib Christmas Eve Brunch (11 a.m.-1 p.m.), where the hungry are styled out with a meal from one of SF’s most famed restaurants.
“Joe Betz, the owner of House of Prime Rib, has donated just about 3,000 pounds of prime rib to our meal service,” Glide Foundation chief impact and strategy officer Jean Cooper tells us. “Which he’s done for the last 25-30 years.”
It’s the full meal with prime rib, mashed potatoes, a vegetable and a dessert. Glide will serve both breakfast and that prime rib brunch on Christmas Eve. “The whole day on Christmas Eve should be 2,500 meals,” Cooper says. Glide will also serve a Christmas Day meal on Monday, December 25, which will provide 2,500 people with “Christmas meals of ham, turkey and all the fixings.”
On both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, a program called Glide on the Go will also deliver hundreds of meals for free to those on the streets. “We prepare 250 to-go boxes,” according to Cooper. “They’re take-out boxes filled with prime rib, same thing we’re serving here at brunch that day. We send them out in our outreach vans, and they take them to people who are in encampments or living on the streets throughout San Francisco, so they can enjoy a nice prime rib meal as well.”
Join us at 10AM for a morning of soul-stirring #Christmas songs, your favorite #GLIDE Ensemble Soloists, a special prayer with Janice Mirikitani and a co-sermonette from Minister Marvin K. White and Rev. Cecil Williams.🧡https://t.co/PLhKCP6dHu or YouTube: https://t.co/f1hEdHFunU pic.twitter.com/qnScIHBPmz— Glide Memorial Church (@GlideChurch) December 25, 2020
Glide’s minister of celebration Marvin K. White has big plans for Glide’s interdenominational Christmas Eve services before the House of Prime Rib brunch. (Services are scheduled for 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday).
“This year, as opposed to just having the choir sing to the congregation, we are having a sing-along. So we’ll have all the lyrics projected on the big 30-foot screen,” White tells SFist. “The invitation is for you to join your voice with other people, to hear yourself.”
And there’s one Christmas Day service Monday at 10 a.m. “We’re going to celebrate light,” he adds. “The Tenderloin could always use the hope that something is getting ready to radically shift. So everyone's going to get battery-operated candles, we’re going to dim [the lights], and we’re going to bring the light in, and we’re going to do it through song.”
None of these toy giveaways or massive meals can happen without volunteers, and you can sign up to volunteer at Glide online. “On Christmas when we’re serving meals, we need as many hands and bodies as we can get,” Deyi says, noting that Glide serves three free meals a days, every day, 364 days a year (the only exception being January 1). “You can come with your friends, you can come with your family. I've been on a date to do it.”
If you’re not able to donate to the toy drive or volunteer, you can also support their mission with an online donation to Glide.
Top Image: Glide Memorial Church via Facebook