Hawks, UPS and Goodr help Atlanta families put Thanksgiving dinner on the table

Atlanta Hawks’ center Clint Capela helps hand out Thanksgiving groceries at a pop up event in Clayton County.

Emil Moffatt / WABE

The cars are lined up outside a recreation center in Riverdale as volunteers at a pop-up event hand out turkeys, canned vegetables, dinner rolls and other Thanksgiving staples. Among those lending a hand is Atlanta Hawks head coach Nate McMillan.

“Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times,” said McMillan. “The holidays, with Christmas coming up, is one of the fun times of the year.”

But he also knows some families struggle to put food on the table. That’s why the veteran NBA coach says events like these are so vital.

“These are the people who support us, so we want to support them,” said McMillan.

The pop-up grocery giveaway event is a partnership involving the Hawks, UPS and Goodr, which works to fight food insecurity in Atlanta.

Hawks’ vice president of corporate social responsibility Andrea Carter says it’s important for the team to be involved, especially now that the players themselves can take part again.

“This is the first time we’ve been able to have players in person since the pandemic, so we’re here with Coach McMillan, we’re here with Jalen Johnson, were here with Clint Capela,” said Carter. “We’re really excited to be out in the community.”

Volunteers help hand out groceries in Clayton County as part of a pop-up event. (Emil Moffatt/WABE)

“It’s really a pleasure to give back to the community, and I think it’s an important thing to do,” said Capela.

Music plays, and the mood is festive, but the parking lot is also full of cars. The 350 reserved spots for this event went quickly – an indication, says Goodr founder Jasmine Crowe, that many families here can use the help.

“Clayton County is a notorious food desert, lots of people in need here, and so for the Hawks and UPS to come outside the perimeter and serve these families, this means a lot,” said Crowe.

It’s just one of several pop-up grocery events that Goodr has put on in the last two weeks in metro Atlanta, providing Thanksgiving meals for some 1,400 homes. Goodr and UPS also used the pop-up event to provide information on job opportunities for those looking for work.

“The Hawks are based here, we’re based here, and we have similar values,” said La’Kerri Jackson, director of social impact with the UPS Foundation. “It’s incredible to be able to give back to our communities.”

Correction: a previous version of this story incorrectly named Goodr as a non-profit. Goodr is a company that works to fight food insecurity in Atlanta.