Celebrities, politicians help distribute over 3K Thanksgiving meals during All-Star Giveback

A star-studded food drive gave thousands of Metro Detroit families Thanksgiving meals on Tuesday.

The All-Star Giveback: Thanksgiving edition celebrated its 25th annual event in River Rouge – featuring former NBA and NFL players, politicians, community leaders, entertainers, and others.

"Myself and Derrick Coleman started (the tradition) 25 years ago with 200 turkeys, now we're doing 3,000 today. We’ve had upwards of 5,000," said Tarence Wheeler, the owner of Tarence Wheeler Foundation, and co-founder of All-Star Giveback.

The distributed meal kits include everything needed for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner – a 12 to 15 pound turkey, canned goods, mac and cheese, stuffing, pie, and more.

"It’s tough economic times right now – whereas a loaf of bread cost more than a gallon of gas," Wheeler said. "I was a child of poverty, so I know what it feels like and that’s why we’re here."

Many in need lined up hours ahead of the giveback opening to the public.

"I'm not coming out here personally for myself, but I know families who do not have cars and can’t come around, so I chose to get up," said Lori Gibson. "I was the first in line, I got here about 12:20 a.m. and been out here ever since."

The 2023 event was made possible by Wheeler, rapper Big Sean's Sean Anderson Foundation, former NBA players Derrick Coleman, Willie Burton, Rick Mahorn, Earl Cureton, Grant Long, and James Edwards, former NFL players Herman Moore, Lomas Brown, Rob Sims, and Calvin Johnson, actor and author Hill Harper, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, Wayne County Sheriff Ray Washington, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist.

Organizers said as long as there is a need, the All-Star Giveback will continue.