Americans from coast to coast have lined up in large numbers for free goods from food banks, as unemployment caused by the pandemic leads many to seek Thanksgiving assistance they never dreamed they would need.
With the unemployment rate having doubled since before the pandemic, Thanksgiving is proving a stressful time for many families.
In Los Angeles on Monday, Snoop Dogg was handing out a turkey and all the trimmings to 2,500 Inglewood residents who had pre-registered for a drive-through event at the SoFi Stadium, home to the LA Chargers and Rams.
The 49-year-old rapper, who in 2018 published his own cook book full of Thanksgiving recipes, has been handing out free Thanksgiving turkeys to the community since 2013.
‘Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays,’ he said, in a series of interviews to promote his book at the time. ‘It’s a double-hitter – you got good food and you got good football on the same day.’
The turkeys and sides on Monday’s event were donated by Don Lee Farms, the L.A. Regional Food Bank, Pepsi and Frito-Lay.
The day before, Tyler Perry, the billionaire actor and film studio owner, sparked chaos in Atlanta by offering 5,000 boxes of free Thanksgiving foods – corn muffin mix, tinned green beans and side dishes, plus a $25 voucher.
People queued for up to 16 hours to get hold of one of the boxes, with lines of traffic stretching back 12 miles and snarling up roads all around Perry’s Atlanta studio.
In Texas on Monday, long lines of cars were seen waiting for free Thanksgiving food in Austin.
In the last major handout before Thursday’s holiday, about 1,400 vehicles, representing an estimated 5,000 people, pulled into the parking lot at Tony Burger Stadium in South Austin on Monday morning.
Three lanes of food distribution were set up.
‘There is a lot of need in this city for various reasons, but there is also a lot to be thankful for,’ said Derrick Chubbs, working with the Central Texas Food Bank, which organized the event.
‘One, we live in a city that is as philanthropic and giving as Austin.’
Marissa Rodriguez told Fox 7: ‘It means a lot to us, it helps out a lot. Without them, we’d probably not have much.’
John Cornyn, the recently re-elected Republican senator for Texas, was among those helping to hand out the food.
‘The most important thing we need to remember is not to go through pandemic fatigue,’ he said.
‘We know we all have an individual responsibility to ourselves, to our families, to not spread this virus, and the way we do that is wash our hands, maintain social distancing, masking and stay at home when you’re sick.’
In Iowa, people trudged through the snow to collect their supplies from the food bank.
Mike Miller, president of the River Bend Food Bank, said the need was urgent, given the pandemic making people lose their jobs.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Harriet Alexander