ORANGE -- On a rainy Wednesday, 200 homeless people took temporary shelter
under tarps and waited in line for hot chicken soup, roast beef, pumpkin
pie and more at
Volunteer Mary Arciero has been a fixture at the nonprofit in Orange every
Wednesday for a decade.
Arciero understands hunger. She lived it at age 4, when a war in Italy
forced her family to beg for food on the streets. At school, four tablespoons
of soup was their daily ration. The misery lasted a year, but its effects
have lasted a lifetime for Arciero, who is not shy about recruiting others
to the cause of feeding the hungry.
On this winter solstice, the longest day of the year, her four grandchildren,
three daughters and husband, staffers from St. Joseph Hospital in Orange,
helped cook and serve 75 pounds of tri-tip, 60 pounds of roasted potatoes,
64 pints of bell peppers, 64 pints of mushrooms, chicken soup and pumpkin
pie with a cheerful, "Merry Christmas" as carolers serenaded.
Clothes, shoes and holiday stockings filled with sundries were distributed
to those who came out.
One of the homeless people at the meal was James Thorne, 34, who lost his
job and later his apartment. Thorne, his wife, Amie, and their two children
go between living in their Saturn car and staying at the Orange County
Cold Weather Armory Emergency Shelter in Santa Ana.
Thorne says he remains hopeful that tomorrow will bring opportunities for