Expected Rain Forces Union Station Homeless Services’ Thanksgiving Dinner in the Park to Head Indoors

Thanksgiving event will relocate into Pasadena Adult Center because of rain forecast, number of volunteers scaled back

Published : Monday, November 25, 2019 | 5:48 PM

[Updated] For the first time in recent memory, Dinner in the Park, the annual Thanksgiving Dinner served by Union Station Homeless Services, will take place indoors and not outside in Central Park.

“We looked at the weather report and we saw that there’s an 80 to 90 percent chance of rain on Thanksgiving,” said Dana Bean, senior director of development and communications for Union Station. “Today is the last day we could change the rentals, so we made the decision to move from Central Park to the Adult Center.”

The group will still prepare thousands meals, which will be served to individuals and families experiencing homelessness or poverty and senior citizens and those who are alone for Thanksgiving, or unable to afford a holiday meal.

Dinner in the Park was last moved indoors because of rain in 2012, the group said.

But it’s best to prepare to be safe rather than sorry in the case of providing a nice holiday meal, Bean said.

“We want to make sure people have a warm place to eat their holiday meal and the Adult Center provides us with a large indoor dining hall and a sheltered parking area that we’re going to tent to make it fully enclosed,” Bean said.

Union Station is still going through the checklist and of additional needs now that Thanksgiving Dinner will move indoors.

“Anyone who is planning to come is welcome,” Bean said. “We are hopeful we can still distribute the 2,000 meals we planned. We are getting out the word that we’ve changed locations and we’re going to have some brave souls standing in the park on Thanksgiving, redirecting people to the Adult Center.”

Because it’s an indoor space, she said, there won’t be a need for as many volunteers. While she was planning on bringing in 500 volunteers, now only 80-100 are needed.

“It’s a much smaller space than the park,” she said. “But we want people to know that we really need help throughout the year and there are other ways people can help.”

The times remain the same with volunteers expected to arrive between 10 and 11 a.m. and the meal will be served at noon (12 p.m.) sharp.

The dinner is planning to be wrapped up by 2 p.m.

It’s a last-minute scramble but Bean said the Union Station staff and volunteers are busy at work making changes.

“We have an amazing events staff and everyone is working together to make this a great Thanksgiving,” Bean said.

Thanksgiving Dinner in the Park Relocation will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 28 at the Union Station Adult Center, 412 South Raymond Avenue, Pasadena.