Local

Jackson family turkey giveaway celebrates 35th anniversary

File: People line up to receive Thanksgiving meals during Jackson Limousine's 30th annual turkey giveaway on Nov. 20, 2012 in Los Angeles.
File: People line up to receive Thanksgiving meals during Jackson Limousine's 30th annual turkey giveaway on Nov. 20, 2012 in Los Angeles.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Listen to story

05:27
Download this story 2.0MB

In 1982, a group of South L.A. senior citizens approached Jackson Limousine Service owner E.J. Jackson, telling him they couldn't afford Thanksgiving dinner. He bought 100 turkeys for them.

Tuesday morning marks the 35th anniversary of the beloved tradition of the Jackson Limousine Turkey Giveaway, continuing on following Jackson's death of a heart attack last year.

Over the years, the number of turkeys given away grew. When KPCC spoke with Jackson in 2010, amidst the Great Recession, he was giving away 10,000 turkeys a year.

Even though Jackson died, his tradition of generosity lives on through his son TyRon. He told KPCC's Nick Roman he's thrilled his father's legacy will continue. 

"My dad planted a seed of goodness, he planted seeds of hope. I'm so happy those seeds are sprouting," he said.

This year's event will take place at Jackson Limousine Service at 8 a.m. on Tuesday. Along with giving away turkeys, volunteers will be handing out a full Thanksgiving dinner — complete with cornbread, greens, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, fresh produce and more.

TyRon also spearheads a project of his own: Operation Warm Wishes. The organization will host a Thanksgiving meal on Thursday at Peppertree Park in Tustin.

TyRon and volunteers will serve the free three-course meal from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Attendees can enjoy desserts, a kids tent, live music, a live broadcast of the football game as well as services like haircuts, clothing giveaways and dog grooming. 

"So many people have been knocked down," TyRon said. "I want this to be a day we can uplift people and give them hope."