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Tyler Perry donates food, gift cards to 5,000 families ahead of Thanksgiving, leading to miles-long lines

Tyler Perry donated food and money to thousands of needy people in his community of Atlanta, Ga. ahead of Thanksgiving. 

The actor, writer and producer announced on Thursday that Tyler Perry Studios, his Atlanta-based film and TV hub, was going to be giving away non-perishable food items as well as $25 gift cards to the first 5,000 families in need who drove through. 

“We are excited to announce the #TPSGiving Food Giveaway event on Sunday, November 22nd from 8:00am to 12:00pm,” a tweet from the studio read. “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!”

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The event began at 8 a.m. local time and the studio said it was already out of food by 10 a.m. At one point, the line of people looking to take Perry up on his offer stretched for 5 miles south of downtown Atlanta. Fox 5 reporter Emilie Ikeda tweeted that people began lining up at 3 p.m. the previous day to ensure their spot. The line even caused some traffic back-ups on Langford Pkwy and I-20.

In an effort to keep things safe in light of the coronavirus pandemic, people were required to stay in their cars and wear masks while they received their food. Volunteers in protective equipment handed out the food and gift cards until there were no more to give. 

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This is far from the first time that Perry has been particularly generous with his local community. 

Tyler Perry donated food to 5,000 families in need in Atlanta, Ga.

Tyler Perry donated food to 5,000 families in need in Atlanta, Ga.
(Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

In April, he left $21,000 in tips to employees at a restaurant he’s fond of after they found themselves out of work due to the pandemic. He also paid for the groceries of elderly and high-risk shoppers at a local Kroger. 

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Prior to deciding to help out amid the pandemic, he got into the holiday spirit in 2018 when he paid off more than $400,000 worth of layaways at a local Walmart ahead of Christmas. 

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The “Madea” creator said at the time that he knew people were going through “hard times” and were “struggling” but he said he was “grateful to be able to be in a position to do this.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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