With the help of the Atlanta-based nonprofit organization PAWkids, T.I. and Killer Mike handed out meals Wednesday in the parking lot of the Bankhead Seafood Market to 500 residents of the Grove Park neighborhood.
TMZ reports they also gave several families $500 in cash, and visited a number of homes to drop off two weeks worth of food and hygiene products. Grove Park residents were in need of assistance well before the coronavirus pandemic, but this crisis only escalated the demand for help.
"In any crisis, black people confront dual challenges. We deal with the challenge of racism, and we deal with the crisis itself," T.I. said in a statement. "COVID-19 is no exception. What we saw today was an overwhelming sense of need, but also a sense of hope. We are investing in that hope and belief that tomorrow will be better than today."
Killer Mike added, "The collaboration with PAWkids is an indication of the relationship Bankhead Seafood hopes to maintain with the local community where both me and Tip grew up. We know there are a lot of people suffering from food insecurity, and giving back is not only our responsibility but our pleasure. An added honor is supporting PAWkids, whom we like to call earth angels."
The neighborhood is considered a "food desert," a term given to areas where residents have limited access to healthy, affordable food options. The issue was exacerbated when Grove Park's local supermarket and grocery store Food Giant shut down four years ago.
Latonya Gates, PAWkids' founder and executive director, explained. "I see a lot of black organizations struggling for a lack of resources. COVID-19 has given us an opportunity to serve our people. We are doing this through the support of large companies who have given up power and are allowing community-based organizations such as PAWkids to serve our people. This has allowed me to maintain employment during this crisis and decrease food insecurity."
T.I. and Killer Mike are reportedly aiming to re-open the Bankhead Seafood Market early next year after buying the restaurant following its closure in 2018. In the meantime, Mike wanted to prioritize feeding the people of Grove Park once their plans to re-open were temporarily halted by the pandemic. "T.I. and I went in and bought a business and wanted to keep it going. And in the middle of that, a pandemic happened," he told the Georgia Public Broadcasting. "So, whether money is being made the priority is human beings and people. People need to eat."
According to GPB, PAWkids will continue to supply families in the area with 1,000 meals each week.
You can check out footage and photos of T.I. and Killer Mike giving back to their community below.