Annual James Brown Turkey Giveaway hands out 500 turkeys

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Nearly 500 people received a free turkey Monday for their Thanksgiving dinner at the annual James Brown Turkey Giveaway.

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Volunteers hand out turkeys during the annual James Brown Turkey Giveaway.  CHRIS THELEN/STAFF
CHRIS THELEN/STAFF
Volunteers hand out turkeys during the annual James Brown Turkey Giveaway.

Among them was Lamar Smith, of Augusta, who has received a turkey every year since Brown started the event 21 years ago. He spoke with Brown several times before the internationally known entertainer passed away on Christmas Day 2006.

Because he is on a fixed income, Smith said that he wasn’t able to afford a Thanksgiving turkey.

“It’s a good thing for poor people that don’t have that much. How the economy’s been and everything, it’s helping a lot of people out. He was always about helping,” Smith said.

Starting at 9 a.m., family members of the late entertainer, along with students from the James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils, local representatives from the Georgia Senate and House, and representatives and other volunteers handed out turkeys to those in need at Dyess Park on James Brown Boulevard.

The Rev. Al Sharpton was scheduled to attend, but did not arrive before the giveaway concluded.

Family members are pleased to continue the tradition. When Venisha Brown, Brown’s daughter, arrived at 6 a.m., she said there was already a line.

“You really see the appreciation in these people’s faces. One turkey at a time, we’re actually making a difference in people’s lives, that they’re able to have a happy Thanksgiving. It’s not just about receiving. That’s what my dad was all about. You feel good by being able to give,” Venisha Brown said.

Dr. Yamma Brown, Brown’s daughter, said that it “means so much for her to continue on with what her dad started so many years ago.”

“It’s just a blessing to see this go on year after year,” Yamma Brown said. “All the volunteers, everybody coming together in his name, in his honor and what he stood for. He was very passionate about giving back, loved this community, loved where he came from. It just meant everything to him to be able to do the turkey and toy giveaways every year.”

Joan Martin, of Martinez, was the first person in line at the annual turkey giveaway. A first-time recipient, she showed up at 4 a.m. because organizers told her to come early. The 75-year-old wouldn’t have been able to afford a turkey because she is on a fixed income, she said.

“I’m so grateful. I’m very, very grateful. They’ve got everything so organized. I’m taking it all in. It’s just overwhelming to me,” Martin said.

It was also Ephriam Williams’ first time attending the giveaway. The Hephzibah resident is unemployed and couldn’t afford a turkey this year, he said.

“This has brought a lot of happiness to people that are not able to buy anything,” Williams said. “It’s a beautiful thing he’s (Brown) been doing for the community. A lot of times, we look to celebrities for their entertainment, not their donations. When they donate, it just brings them closer to being like we are. It humanizes them.”

For the first time, recipients had to pre-register for turkeys because the Brown family learned that people were getting two and three turkeys per household at past giveaways. Requiring pre-registration cut down on excess, said Brown’s daughter Deanna Brown-Thomas. In the past, the annual turkey giveaway handed out 800 to 1,000 turkeys a year.

“It eliminated extra turkeys that were not needed because there was so much abuse,” said Brown-Thomas, who added the giveaway was made possible by the donations of sponsors.

Local residents could also pre-register an hour before the giveaway. To qualify, they had to provide ID and a utility bill.

JAMES BROWN TOY GIVEAWAY REGISTRATION

Registration for the James Brown Toy Giveaway will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3 and Dec. 10.

On Saturday only, registration is at Bell Auditorium. On Dec. 3 and Dec. 10, registration will be at James Brown Arena.

Parents must bring their valid state ID and birth certificate and social security number for each child ages one to 12. Each child registered must be present at the toy giveaway to receive toys, according to a release.

The annual James Brown Toy Giveaway will be held at 9 a.m. Dec. 19 at James Brown Arena.

Comments (22)

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Dixieman
10350
Points
Dixieman 11/21/11 - 12:31 pm
0
1

So...if you need photo id (as

So...if you need photo id (as print edition of AC stated this morning) to get a free turkey, what is wrong with requiring photo id TO VOTE???!?

Little Lamb
40104
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Little Lamb 11/21/11 - 12:36 pm
0
0

Don't confuse Rev. Sharpton

Don't confuse Rev. Sharpton with the facts or logic, Dixieman.

Jake
30311
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Jake 11/21/11 - 12:44 pm
0
0

In the spirit of the holidays

In the spirit of the holidays I appreciate the tradition James Brown started with his turkey and toy give-aways. The naysayers can just say, well, nay if that is what they feel like the holidays are about.

TParty
6003
Points
TParty 11/21/11 - 12:46 pm
0
0

I didn't see "photo id"

I didn't see "photo id" anywhere in this article.

dave5588
0
Points
dave5588 11/21/11 - 01:21 pm
0
0

Two things, 1st - 9 out of 10

Two things, 1st - 9 out of 10 are black, 2nd - most didn't look too needy to me. "Abuse" not eliminated, just decreased maybe.

ispy4u
0
Points
ispy4u 11/21/11 - 01:23 pm
0
0

I guess you were there to

I guess you were there to check on the race of those that were there?

allhans
21928
Points
allhans 11/21/11 - 01:29 pm
0
0

Tparty..An earlier article

Tparty..An earlier article announcing the give-a-way stated that a person must register ahead of time and a photo ID would be required.

allhans
21928
Points
allhans 11/21/11 - 01:31 pm
0
0

ispy4u..See above "140

ispy4u..See above "140 Spotted photos" of event.

raul
3354
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raul 11/21/11 - 02:19 pm
0
0

800-1000 turkeys down to 500

800-1000 turkeys down to 500 after eliminating the "abuse" Wish our government could do as well.

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 11/21/11 - 02:24 pm
0
0

10-4 Raul....

10-4 Raul....

bdouglas
3500
Points
bdouglas 11/21/11 - 02:28 pm
0
0

He said 9 out of 10...maybe

He said 9 out of 10...maybe he was the 10 percent. haha

bdouglas
3500
Points
bdouglas 11/21/11 - 02:31 pm
0
0

I think I even spotted Flaco

I think I even spotted Flaco or Wacko Flacko or whatever his name is from the We Buy Gold commercials. Gold must not be as hot right now if he needs a turkey!

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 11/21/11 - 02:39 pm
0
0

Judging from the photo array

Judging from the photo array it is more like 99 out of 100 are black, but what do you expect? James set this up smack dab in the middle of a predominately black neighborhood, with the obvious intent of helping needy black families as the primary objective. Maybe that isn't stated overtly, but that intent is clear, so where is the rub? I don't see a problem if it is 100%, it is fulfilling JB's goal.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 11/21/11 - 03:26 pm
0
0

bdouglas maybe he was helping

bdouglas maybe he was helping or there for publicity reasons.

Riverman1
70440
Points
Riverman1 11/21/11 - 03:38 pm
0
0

I ain't knocking anyone for

I ain't knocking anyone for getting a free turkey. My Uncle Mervin used to get free cheese and carry a note from his wife so he could get an extra one for her.

allhans
21928
Points
allhans 11/21/11 - 09:21 pm
0
0

Giving food to those who are

Giving food to those who are in need is always a good thing. I just wish it could be done in a way that wouldn't be called a hand-out.

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 11/21/11 - 09:39 pm
0
0

If it is voluntary giving it

If it is voluntary giving it is help; if it is forced giving (entitlements) , it is a hand-out.

raul
3354
Points
raul 11/21/11 - 09:54 pm
0
0

The new requirements for the

The new requirements for the JB Toy Giveaway should reduce the amount of toys handed out also. Pretty sure there was some abuse there also.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 11/22/11 - 04:31 am
0
0

#self-righteous Thank you to

Unpublished

#self-righteous

Thank you to Mr. Brown's family for continuing the tradition! If we don't care, then who will?

southern2
4212
Points
southern2 11/22/11 - 07:10 am
0
0

I feel good! Happy

I feel good! Happy Thanksgiving...HEH!

david jennings
502
Points
david jennings 11/22/11 - 08:17 am
0
0

I was going to say something

I was going to say something about Al Sharpton but God zipped my mouth, so I'll just say I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.

jrock1956
0
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jrock1956 11/22/11 - 09:42 am
0
0

Vito45 said...If it is

Vito45 said...If it is voluntary giving it is help; if it is forced giving (entitlements) , it is a hand-out.

That depends on the mentality of the person giving. My tax dollars can go to entitlements as well as killing someone overseas.

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 11/22/11 - 09:52 am
0
0

"My tax dollars can go to

"My tax dollars can go to entitlements". Then it is not forced is it jrock, if you are OK with it?

jrock1956
0
Points
jrock1956 11/22/11 - 10:40 am
0
0

Tax dollars are not forced?

Tax dollars are not forced? But my point is, I don't care if my tax dollars go to help someone in need.

golfingtig
0
Points
golfingtig 11/23/11 - 01:44 pm
0
0

Maybe Al Sharpton didn't show

Maybe Al Sharpton didn't show because he did not agree with the photo id requirement. Being present with that requirement would conflict his comments coming nex November.

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