Atlanta’s roads were snarled with traffic on Sunday as people waited for up to 16 hours in their cars to claim a free box of Thanksgiving food donated by billionaire actor and film studio owner Tyler Perry.
Perry, 51, was donating boxes full of supplies for the holiday to those in need, along with gift cards, Fox 5 in Atlanta reported.
Inside the boxes were cans of food and cranberry sauce, boxes of corn muffin mix, and a voucher for $25.
The food ran out by 10am, and those who missed out on the 5,000 boxes, but were able to make it to the front of the line by midday, were given a $50 voucher.
The Medea star, the first African American to own a film studio, found there was no shortage of those looking for extra help amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Giving back: Tyler Perry, 51, showed off his generous spirit on Sunday as he offered free Thanksgiving meal supplies to 5,000 families in Atlanta; pictured in 2018
Thousands waited in line for the free food packages donated by the Louisiana-born billionaire
Lines of cars stretched 12 miles long as people waited to get in to Perry’s Atlanta studios on Sunday
Traffic was snarled up as tired people, some of whom spent the night in their cars, waited for their free food
Workers in PPE handed out the boxes to the families inside their cars, lining up on Sunday
People gathered at the studios to claim the help for their Thanksgiving tables
Perry’s donations were processed through Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, and the event was called #TPSGiving.
‘Although we wish that we could feed everyone in need, we will close the line at the 5,000th family,’ a description for the charity event read.
The giveaway was intended to only run from 8 a.m. until noon, but the intense demand meant that some people lined up their cars the night before in hopes of getting a box of non-perishables.
Jeanette Walton, was the first person to line her car up, and she arrived at 3 p.m. on Saturday, 15 hours prior to the start, just to ensure that she wouldn’t go home empty-handed.
‘I’ve been blessed in where my job has allowed me to work from home, but still I’ve had other family members that have lost jobs and had to move in,’ she said. ‘That’s really why I’m here because when you have to take on the burden of others, you find yourself in need yourself.’
Residents of Atlanta thanked Perry, who moved to their city in 1990 and still lives there
Perry’s team handed out the supplies until midday to all those who made it to the front of the line
Tyler Perry’s Atlanta studio is one of the largest in the country and was where Black Panther was filmed
Head start: Fox 5 in Atlanta reported that the first person in line arrived at 3 p.m. on Saturday, 15 hours before the distribution began. Twitter also had views of lines reaching for miles
Desperation: The giveaway was intended to only run from 8 a.m. until noon, but the intense demand meant that some people lined up their cars the night before in hopes of getting a box of non-perishables
Thanksgiving favorites: Photos on Twitter showed that the boxes including around 10 items, mostly non-perishable cans of green beans and cranberry sauce, as well as a gift card
Walton also explained that this was the first time she’d ever needed to take advantage of a food drive.
Photos on Twitter showed that the boxes including around 10 items, mostly non-perishable cans of favorites like green beans and cranberry sauce, as well as a gift card.
Perry has previously passed out Thanksgiving foods, but this was the first year his charity took the form of a drive-through, in order to cut down on possible coronavirus exposure.
Many social media users praised the writer and producer’s charity efforts, including Back To The Future and Caroline In The City star Lea Thompson.
‘This man @tylerperry is one of the big hero’s [sic] of GEORGIA. He invested in the people of this fine state Bringing jobs confidence and power to the people,’ she tweeted.
But some, including Dr. Steven W. Thrashner, blasted the filmmaker for what they described as a history of fighting unionization, under paying employees and using loopholes to decrease his tax burden, leaving Atlantans and Georgians with fewer resources.
Safety measures: Perry has previously passed out Thanksgiving foods, but this was the first year his charity took the form of a drive-through, in order to cut down on possible coronavirus exposure; shown November 15
Grateful: Many social media users praised the writer and producer’s charity efforts, including Back To The Future and Caroline In The City star Lea Thompson
Not a fan: But some blasted what they described as Perry’s history of fighting unions, underpaying employees and taking advantage of tax breaks
Many families are particularly struggling this year, as the pandemic has led to massive job losses.
A Pew survey from September revealed that 25 percent of Americans say they or someone in their household has lost a job since the start of the pandemic, and nearly half of Americans classified as lower income say they have had trouble paying bills and making ends meet.
Although Americans were sent $1,200 checks in the spring by the government, and some people were eligible for increased unemployment insurance payments, there hasn’t been a second attempt at direct payments to Americans, and many of the increased benefits have now dried up.