The Tenderloin, San Francisco, CA.
Since this is Thanksgiving week...a time for sharing and being thankful, I thought it best to highlight an area of San Francisco that is "less glamorous" and perhaps one of the least "traveled" by those coming into the City for the cheerful festivities during the holiday season. If you've ever spent time driving, walking or just visiting the Tenderloin, (whether on purpose or by accident), it's definitely an eye opener in more ways than one. Wikipedia comments: "The extension of the Tenderloin south of Market Street in the vicinity of Sixth, Seventh, and Mission Streets is known locally as Mid-Market and is "Skid Row," or sarcastically as "the Wine Country," an allusion to "winos" (street-dwelling alcoholics)." You get the picture. About the closest most people come to spending any time there is when they've got tickets to latest show in the nearby Theater District, or if they accidentally stumble a couple of blocks westward from Union Square in a moment of disorientation. That being said, the Tenderloin is also home to many artists and writers as well as a largely working class population and is thriving as an exciting and diverse slice of San Francisco life.
One of the best gifts within the neighborhood is the famous (or perhaps "infamous") Glide Memorial Church
Every year, Glide serves approximately 5000 meals during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season. While there are many organizations in San Francisco that turn on the true Holiday spirit this time of year...this is truly one of the most prolific of them all, and one of the great reminders regarding just how compassionate San Franciscans can be...even when it seems like we're all being "tested" some days with rampant homelessness and relentless panhandling. If you've never volunteered at your local shelter or charitable group during the Holidays, you're really missing out. Take the opportunity when you can...you'll be amazed at how much you come away with on so many levels.