Thousands of people in Atlanta will have a Happy Thanksgiving thanks to the generosity of Tyler Perry. On Nov. 22, Perry opened the grounds of his Tyler Perry Studios to distribute groceries and gift cards to families in need — and the needed ended up being great.
Perry made the initial announcement via social media, inviting local families to the drive-up distribution center to pick up a box filled with all the Thanksgiving fixings and a grocery gift card to help out during this difficult holiday season. Perry promised to distribute 5,000 boxes during what they dubbed the TPSGiving event.
“Tyler was heartbroken seeing people all over the country stand in line for food, so he decided he wanted to give back to his community in Atlanta,” a source told People of Perry’s decision.
“Although we wish that we could feed everyone in need, we will close the line at the 5,000th family,” the studio said in their announcement on Twitter:
We are excited to announce the #TPSGiving Food Giveaway event on Sunday, November 22nd from 8:00am to 12:00pm.
During this drive-up event we will be distributing non-perishable food items and gift cards to people who are in need during this holiday season. See you there! pic.twitter.com/kQH2DvwNYp
— Tyler Perry Studios (@TPstudios) November 19, 2020
The need turned out to be greater than Perry likely anticipated, though.
People started lining up in their cars on the day before the giveaway, and traffic eventually backed up for miles. Local reporter Veronica Harrell tweeted video that captured the backup:
Folks have been in line for hours on SR-166 to get to @tylerperry Studios for a Free Food Giveaway. Please remember there are so many people in need @ACFB This #Thanksgiving remain #grateful & #Thankful #sundayvibes #SundayThoughts #TylerPerry ð¦ð¦ð¦ð¦ pic.twitter.com/HolQU7kZtJ
— Veronica HarrellWSBð¤ (@VeronicaHarrell) November 22, 2020
Atlanta’s Fox5 talked with the first person in line at the studio, Jeanette Walton, who arrived at 3 p.m on Nov. 21 — 17 hours before the event! — to make sure she had food for her family.
The first car in line got here at 3pm…YESTERDAY. #TPSGiving starts at 8am. Already, lines extend miles long, causing back-ups on Langford Pkwy and I-20.@TPstudios will be giving away non-perishables and gift cards to 5K families.
People tell me, the need is greater than ever pic.twitter.com/ntoBGfaZTk
— Emilie Ikeda (@EmilieIkedaFOX5) November 22, 2020
“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,” Walton explained to Fox5. “That’s really why I’m here, because when you have to take on the burden of others, you find yourself in need yourself.”
The demand was so high, volunteers gave out the final box after only two hours of service.
This is not the first time Perry has reached out to help those in need in the Atlanta area. Earlier this year, he donated 1,000 Kroger gift cards to be distributed to the community by the Atlanta Police Department in an effort to offer a bridge between officers and the people they serve. Two Christmases ago, Perry paid off $430,000 in layaways at two Atlanta Walmart stores.
Kudos to Perry for all of the good he has done for his community!