Thanksgiving is near and Tyler Perry is continuing his charitable energy for this holiday season. In the past several months, Perry has been in the news for reportedly funding Rayshard Brooks’ (who was fatally shot by an Atlanta police officer) funeral and randomly paying for grocery shoppers’ bills across 73 stores in Atlanta and Louisiana.
According to Variety, the film and TV mogul recently organized a Thanksgiving food giveaway via his production company Tyler Perry Studios, feeding 5,000 families. Announced on Thursday, the drive-thru event took place outside of his studio headquarters from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Sunday.
The event’s poster read, “First come, first serve of 5,000 families while supplies last. Although we wish that we could feed everyone in need we will close the line at the 5,000th family.”
So, how did the event actually turn out? According to a tweet from FOX 5 Atlanta reporter Emilie Ikeda, the first car lined up on Saturday at about 3 p.m. local time.
“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,” WSB TV Traffic Reporter Veronica Harrell tweeted on Sunday morning, along with a video showing an extremely long line of people waiting to hopefully take advantage of the giveaway.
“Just talked to an out-of-work single mom facing eviction from her apartment in Atlanta,” writer and anthropologist Brian Goldstone tweeted. “She’s been waiting in line since 6pm *last night* to receive groceries and a gift card from Tyler Perry. A flyer for the event said the line will “close at the 5000th family.”
Author Dr. Steven W. Thrasher responded to Goldstone’s tweet with an interesting and valid point, “If ppl like Tyler Perry didn’t fight unions & instead paid the ppl they employ a living wage...and if Georgia didn’t give him tax breaks to do this but instead taxed him enough so the govt could support ppl in this crisis...Would this gross Tyler Perry “charity” be needed?”
While instances of charity and philanthropy can be heartwarming, it does hurt to see such an exploitative display of people desperately waiting in line for...occasional crumbs instead of the systemic change they really deserve. Speaking of crumbs, Thrasher updated his thread noting that Goldstone’s contact who had “waited overnight for Tyler Perry’s crumbs got...a $25 gift certificate & some non-perishables.”