Thousands of people received free turkeys and Thanksgiving dinner fixings Tuesday at a giveaway event that will make the difference between enjoying a holiday meal and going hungry for some Southern California families.
One of the most prominent charitable events of the holiday season was the 32nd annual E.J. Jackson Foundation giveaway, for which people began lining up on Sunday. The giveaway by Jackson, the founder of Jackson Limousine Service, is an annual tradition in South Los Angeles and draws lines that wrap around blocks near the event at 3669 W. Slauson Ave.
"Awesome, awesome, awesome -- he's a blessing to me," said a woman who joined the line Sunday night. "If it wasn't for Mr. Jackson, I wouldn't have Thanksgiving dinner."
The foundation has given away more than 415,000 turkey dinners over the past three decades. It also traditionally attracts local elected officials and celebrities who help prepare the food boxes and distribute them.
Carolyn Baker volunteer this year at the event for the first time.
"I see it every year, and I was looking for an opportunity to give back," said Baker. "I'm here to have them see a smiling face and let them know somebody cares for them."
Also Tuesday, the Inner-City Games LA and Hollenbeck Youth Center held their 33rd annual turkey giveaway, handing out about 500 turkeys and dinner fixings to inner-city families. Some of the funding for the giveaway at 2015 E. First St. was provided by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
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The nonprofit group PVJOBS distributed free turkeys to residents of the neighborhoods surrounding the group's offices at 4112 S. Main St. in South Los Angeles.
The San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission will hold its 15th annual Family Thanksgiving Feast at the Church on the Way in Van Nuys Tuesday night, serving about 500 people.