Thousands of families in Southern California lined up early Tuesday at the 33rd Annual Turkey Grocery Giveaway in the Hyde Park area of Los Angeles.
The annual giveaway, supported by the E.J. Jackson Foundation, provides free Thanksgiving groceries to the homeless and low-income residents. The giveaway is reportedly the largest Thanksgiving meal giveaway in the U.S.
The foundation said it was expecting about 10,000 families to sleep outside the day before the annual event. Some of the families standing in line Tuesday morning said they had been waiting since Saturday.
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"People come and stand for two days to get a wonderful meal that they might eat on for a whole week. It’s just truly amazing," volunteer Byron Glore said.
The foundation handed out about 10,000 full Thanksgiving meals in 2014 and are aiming to give away about 12,000 meals this year.
"If you would have met me a few years ago, I was about to lose all my property because I couldn’t pay my taxes,” said EJ Jackson, owner of Jackson Limousine. “I’d rather push a basket than not help these people."
Organizers said in addition to a Turkey, the first 300 people will receive a ham and the first 12 people will receive a pie in addition to their Thanksgiving meals.
The giveaway began at 8 a.m.
"E.J. has done something that was really needed in our community," said actor Edward James Olmos, who volunteered at the event.