Thousands line up for free turkeys in South LA

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Brian Watt/KPCC

Thousands of people started lining up at 3 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010 on Slauson Avenue in South Los Angeles for free turkeys at an annual event sponsored by Jackson Limousine Service.

The lines were long today at the Thanksgiving turkey giveaway at the Jackson Limousine Service in South Los Angeles.

Businessman E.J. Jackson started this tradition almost 25 years ago by giving away about 100 turkeys.

Today, it's more than 10,000 turkeys, with a box of trimmings thanks to lots of contributions to the E.J. Jackson Foundation.

Two different lines stretched for more than a block. Seniors and disabled people waited in one line on Hillcrest Drive. All others waited in line on Slauson Avenue.

People lined up as early as 3 a.m. Some waited as long as six hours.

The Value Produce Company of Los Angeles donated the fresh fruits and vegetables that go in the boxes of trimmings for the past 10 years.

Owner Jesse Martin says every year, it gets better, but this year is tough.

"Real tough because the economy is hurting," Martin said. "Everybody is hurting. We're ALL hurting."

He said donating produce doesn't hurt his company, but having a lot to donate means times are tough.

"You see a lot more people waiting for our donations," he said. "We have a lot of food that we have to give away. As it is, we have to give it away, because people are not buying it. People don't have the money to go buy it. So what do we do? We give it away, instead of throwing it away. That’s what we do."

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