In November, if you called EJ Jackson "Mr. Turkey," the name would fit and everyone would agree to the labeling. Mr. Jackson is not only the founder and president of Jackson Limousine Service, a successful company in Los Angeles - known as the "chauffeur to the stars" - he's a man with a tremendous heart. For 30 years he's given away a turkey, with all the fixings for a full Thanksgiving dinner, to thousands of the needy in Los Angeles.
2011, was The E.J. Jackson Foundation's biggest turkey dinner give-away ever - with nearly 10,000 dinners given to the needy. It was also perhaps one of the largest in the country. Lined-up were: more families in need, more turkeys, more staff and volunteers, and more celebrities and community leaders on hand for the 29th Anniversary occasion.
This years' turkey dinner give-away launched from the Jackson Limousines' fleet yard - located at 3669 W. Slauson Ave., in Los Angeles. Over the years it can be estimated that The E.J. Jackson Foundation has given away over 415,000 turkey dinners. Those dinners have fed some nearly 206,000 elderly, handicapped and needy people to those who just didn't have the finances to feed their family on Thanksgiving Day. That's reason to give thanks.
Jackson even acknowledges that his annual Turkey Dinner Give-away in part is possible because of the year-round business and support he receives from some of Jackson Limousines' long-time clients, for which he is grateful. It comes from celebrity-clients such as- Sidney Poitier, Shaquille O'Neal, Jamie Foxx, Chris Tucker and Judge Mathis to name a few.
The E.J. Jackson Foundation Turkey Dinner Give-away is a festive occasion with lots of celebrities and public officials on hand. They dropped by to bring holiday greetings and help pass out the dinners, including: CA Congresswoman Diane Watson, LA County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, LA 8th District City Councilman Bernard & Mrs. Bobbi Parks, actor Isaiah Washington from the hit ABC show - Grey's Anatomy, actress Dawnn Lewis currently starring in Sister Act the Musical at the famed Pasadena Playhouse, Judge Greg Mathis - Judge Mathis TV court show, film and TV actor Edward James Olmos - known to Battlestar Galactica fans as Commander William Adama; and a crowd pleaser to all the senior citizens in line - famed Oscar-winning actor - Mr. Sidney Poitier. Adding to the festive and lively day are the radio stations playing music and broadcasting live from the event: KJLH, KHHT, KKBT, and KLOX.
So on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, where normally you'd find parked the fabulous, flashy and classic fleet of long stretch Jackson limousines and specialty buses- they're replaced by long lines of grateful people, stretching for blocks, waiting patiently to receive a turkey with all the dinner fixings- cornbread, greens, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, fresh produce, cookies, water, and more donated by The E.J. Jackson Foundation. Other sponsors participating and making donations include: Kevin Pickett, President Palms Residential Care Foundation, Value Produce, Shelton Farms, Biscomeria, Ralph Heckert with Capital Group, John Cossette of John Cossette Productions, and State Farm.
Why does he do it and how did he get started? Mr. Jackson says, "We saw the need and just knew we had to do just something to help senior citizens on a fixed-incomes- be able to receive, prepare and enjoy an old-fashioned Thanksgiving dinner at home. It was as simple as that."
One of the most grateful senior citizens on hand this year, for the first time, was Juanita Forbes. At 101 years old, she's been on a fixed income for a long time. She was not only thrilled to receive a turkey dinner with all the fixings but was treated to a Jackson limousine ride to and from the Turkey Dinner Give-away. Her friends all call her "Miss Juanita" and although 101 years old, she's still going strong and plans and hopes to see many more Thanksgiving holidays.
Former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigos regularly makes his yearly visit. He not only brings greetings and shakes the hands of hundreds of people standing patiently in the long lines, but the mayor rolls-up his sleeves and pitches in to hand out dinners. Mayor Villaraigos stated- "The Jackson Limousine Turkey Dinner Give-away seems to launch not only the Thanksgiving holiday but the entire holiday season. I believe it sets the tone and the wonderful "spirit of caring and sharing" that sweeps over the entire great City of Los Angeles and all its people of goodwill, like Mr. Jackson."
8th District Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks and Mrs. Bobbi Parks attended and have been on hand to help out at the turkey dinner give-away for several years. "This is a tremendous undertaking. A truly kind and generous thing Mr. Jackson - one local, small, business man has done for 20 years, to help senior citizens and needy families to be able to enjoy a good dinner at Thanksgiving. He's helped put the 'Happy' back into Thanksgiving for thousands of folks!" Parks stated.
In addition to community leaders and celebrities, California Highway Patrol, LA County Sheriff's, Los Angeles Police Department officers, and LA County Health Department staff persons were on hand to help out. Plus the entire Jackson Limousine staff and lots of wonderful volunteers join in the spirit of occasion, take part in the planning of this wonderful event, making certain the annual turkey dinner give-away is well-organized and runs smoothly. However, they know for certain, EJ Jackson is no "turkey." He's their boss, a successful and generous man they're proud to work for, head of Jackson Limousine, a company - known as the "chauffeur to the stars," who cares about people and the community.
For The Foundation And Details About The Turkey Giveaway:
The EJ Jackson Foundation
5924 West Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90043
PHONE: (323) 296-8742
FOR INFORMATION ON CAR SERVICE: http://www.jacksonlimo.com
(Sources: Jackson Limo, Sara Lee / Hilshire Brands)