LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Thousands of people braved an hours-long line today for an annual South Los Angeles turkey giveaway founded by the late limousine company owner Ellsworth E.J. Jackson and now continuing in his memory.
The turkey giveaway is now overseen by the Los Angeles Reinvestment Foundation, formerly known as the E.J. Jackson Foundation. The giveaway has grown into a major charitable tradition in South Los Angeles, beginning decades ago with just 100 turkeys and now growing to about 12,000.
The event annually attracts a long line of people who wait hours to receive a box filled with not only a turkey, but with all the fixings for a Thanksgiving meal.
“My father believed in people helping people, and that's what we're doing today,” Jackson's son, TyRon, told KTLA5 at the event.
He said people are getting more than just food.
“They're going home with uplifting spirits, compassion and kindness,” TyRon Jackson said. “That's exactly what my father wanted. He loved this -- 36 years of doing this. This is amazing. People are feeling love, people are having a wonderful time. That's what my father would have wanted. We're keeping the legacy alive.”
E.J. Jackson was the owner of Jackson Limousine Service, which is well- known as a chauffeur to the stars. He began the turkey giveaway in 1982 when some area senior citizens who couldn't afford Thanksgiving holiday meals approached Jackson, who responded by buying 100 turkeys and creating the E.J. Jackson Foundation. The next year he bought 200, and the next he bought 500.
Jackson died Nov. 1, 2016. The city last year dedicated the corner near his limousine company “E.J. Jackson Square.”
A few miles away, meanwhile, longtime community activist “Sweet” Alice Harris, 84, held her 33rd annual turkey giveaway Tuesday through her organization, Parents of Watts. Between 500 and 1,000 turkeys will be distributed during that event.
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