Tenderloin Tessie
Feeding the Hungry in San Francisco for Over 40 Years!

For over 40 years, Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners, an all-volunteer organization, has fed the community of San Francisco on Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. We work hard to prepare a bountiful meal, a smile and a gift to all of our patrons in a welcoming environment. Our dinners average a thousand people each holiday and take place at the First Unitarian Church at the corner of Franklin Street and Geary Boulevard. Everyone is welcome!


Tessie was the drag name of Perry Spink, a local performer/bartender who was very familiar with the people and character of the Tenderloin District in San Francisco during the 60’s and 70’s. Legend has it that on Thanksgiving in 1974, he received several turkeys and was inspired to cook and serve them to the local Tenderloin residents (with the help of less-than-sober bar buddies). It was a gesture that showed the San Francisco Community that no matter who you were; there was someone who cared.

The dinners continued on a monthly basis for a while. It was a Godsend for the little blue haired women of the neighborhood who were trying to live off meager social security checks. These dinners, served on the last Thursdays of the month, garnered Tessie many honors and she earned the title of Empress 15 in 1980.

Along with the dinners, Tessie started the tradition of giving gift bags along with the meals, a tradition that lives on today. These bags contain donated items such as toiletries, socks, gloves and an assortment of non-perishable food.

Sadly, Tessie died in 1984 but the meals continued on an uneven basis. Three years later, the name Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners was created and the meals became a holiday tradition on Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. They were served at a church on the corner of Eddy and Gough and began focusing on the needs of those suffering form AID’s and the growing number of homeless throughout the city.

The meals were a very satisfying way to help the community, but were becoming very large and were a great deal of work and stress for the few volunteers who loosely made up the board at the time. The program suffered a severe blow when the church burned to the ground in 1995. With the board in limbo and no place to stage the meals, many members felt it was time to move on.

A new board came together and the meals were moved to the present location, the First Unitarian Universalist church on Franklin and Geary. Since that time, the organization has become a non-profit and is stronger than ever and always mindful of the original mission of Tenderloin Tessie to help anyone in need. Everyone is welcome at our meals!

Board Members

Michael Gagne


Martha Anne Vielle

Vice President

David Tejeda


Eric Osborn

Co-Events Planner

Alex Upchurch

Co-Events Planner

Bonnie Bibas

Partnership & Grants Coordinator

Marilyn Murrillo

Grants Administrator

Cesar Zepeda

Member At Large

Denise Gindoy


Jim "Pushy Biesner"

Honorary Member

Linda Ostrom

Honorary Member

Chris Ostrom

Honorary Member

David Lassman

Honorary Member

Robert Sparling (deceased)

Role of Honor

Rex Clark (deceased)

Role of Honor

Non-Board Appointed Positions

Michael Gagne

Volunteer Coordinator

Stephen Johnson



Diamond $3,000

Bob Ross Foundation

Platinum $1,000

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

Gold $500

Hot Cookie
SF Ducal Council
Olivia Travel
Ricky Padilla Graphic Design

Silver $250

Fitness SF
Bruce Agid

Bronze $100

Cruisin' The Castro Walking Tours
Cliff's Variety
Harvey Milk Club
Orphan Andy's
Seth Munter
Twin Peaks Tavern

Other Sponsors


Stephen Johnson

For Web Site, Computer Advice, Electrician, Handyman


Saturday Feb 19, 2022 Locker Inventory - Easter 10 AM-2 PM Extra Space Storage
Sunday Apr 17, 2022 Easter Dinner 1-4 PM First Unitarian Church
1187 Franklin Street
Sunday Mar 13, 2022 Vanessa Bousay's Show 7-8:30 PM Martuni's 4 Valencia Street
Sunday Apr 10, 2022 Vanessa Bousay's Show 7-8:30 PM Oasis 298 - 11th Street
Sunday May 8, 2022 Vanessa Bousay's Show 7-8:30 PM Martuni's 4 Valencia Street
Saturday June 25, 2022 Eagle Beer Bust Benefit On Pride Weekend 3-6 PM 398 - 12th Street @ Harrison
Sunday Jul 3, 2022 Red, White & Blue Ducall Event 4-7 PM Aunt Charlie's Lounge
Saturday *TBD Imperial Counsil Fundraiser 4-7 PM Beaux on Mareket Street
Sunday Sept 4, 2022 Eagle Beer Bust Benefit 3-7 PM 398 - 12th Street @ Harrison
Saturday Sept 24, 2022 Eagle Beer Bust Benefit On Folsome Weekend 3-6 PM 398 - 12th Street @ Harrison
Thursday Oct 20, 2022 Stuffing Turkeys for Turkey Pluck 7 PM Michael's House
Fri-Thurs Oct 21-Nov 24, 2022 *TBD Turkey Pluck In Bars *TBD - The Cinch, OMG Bar, Trax, and Others
Saturday Oct 22, 2022 Locker Inventory - Thanksgiving 10 AM-1 PM Extra Space Storage
Thursday Nov 24, 2021 Thanksgiving Dinner 1-4 PM First Unitarian Church
1187 Franklin Street
Saturday Nov 26, 2022 Unload The Truck - Thanksgiving
Locker Inventory - Christmas
10 AM-2 PM Extra Space Storage
Friday Dec 2, 2022 Tenderloin Tessie's Christmas Caberet Spectatular 6-9 PM First Unitarian Church
1187 Franklin Street
Sunday Dec 25, 2021 Christmas Dinner 1-4 PM First Unitarian Church
1187 Franklin Street

NOTE: Dates with a Question Mark after them have not been confirmed yet. The Mark will be removed when they are confirmed.
Click on an event name or location to get more information. Items with *TBD: Details are Pending
If you would like to volunteer for any of these events, please see our Volunteer Page and call or e-mail Michael Gagne.


Coming Soon


Michael Gagne
415-584-3252 (No Text)

ThanksGiving Dinner is on!

With the proper PPE in place for Volunteers and Clients

To Volunteer, please email or call Michael.

Please use the TenderloinTessie@yahoo.com for email or

Call (No Text) Michael at his Landline at 415-584-3252.

Dinners are held at:

First Unitarian Church
1187 Franklin St @ Geary

We are looking for some good and hard working Primary Volunteers

Contact Us

Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners
2261 Market St #494
San Francisco, CA 94114

415-584-3252 (No Text)
Michael Gagne

All your donations are tax deductable. We are a 501(c)(3) organization.

Tax ID #94-3381288