James Brown Turkey Giveaway distributes hundreds of turkeys to Augusta families

 

Carrying a 10-pound turkey in a red tote bag, Carrie Hacker’s face lit up so brightly that any worries about purchasing groceries for a Thanksgiving meal melted away.

Hacker received one of about 400 turkeys from the annual James Brown Turkey Giveaway at
Dyess Park, an Augusta holiday tradition.

The giveaway was started by the soul singer more than 20 years ago, and the Brown Family Children Foun­dation has continued it since 2007.

“When you’re not able to buy one, that’s a blessing,” Hacker said. “God has been good to me.”

Hundreds of people lined up early Monday for a turkey distributed by members of the Brown family and volunteers.

Brown’s daughter Deanna Brown-Thomas said the event provides the main Thanksgiving dish for many families that struggle to purchase a turkey.

Walmart, Bi-Lo and Amerigroup RealSolutions sponsored the giveaway.

“It’s a blessing to many people in need,” Brown-Thomas said. “When you look at $10, $15 or $20 for a turkey, in some people’s budgets it’s just not there.”

Memories of Brown, who died on Christ­mas Day 2006, were recalled as recordings of his music played. Barbara Ivey remembered Brown handing out the turkeys.

“Without them, we wouldn’t have (a turkey),” Ivey said. “It’s important to be thankful for the Brown family. We’re all in need.”

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