Tyler Perry Covers Grocery Bills For Seniors During Coronavirus Crisis

Credit: Slaven Vlasic/Getty

During the COVID-19 crisis the news and social media is being inundated with minor celebs ‘entertaining’ us by being ‘cute’ for the camera – something that actually comes off as being desperate to make sure people don’t forget who they are, rather than spreading the joy.

Meanwhile, on the quiet, some people are out making an actual difference to people’s lives during a scary and uncertain time.

Director and actor Tyler Perry is one such.

Perry funded grocery bills of seniors shopping in stores across Atlanta and New Orleans during the dedicated one hour slot Wednesday morning, a PEOPLE exclusive revealed yesterday.

44 Kroger stores in Atlanta, Georgia where he lives, and 29 Winn Dixie stores in his birth town of New Orleans, Louisiana, surprised the seniors shopping during the reserved slot. The hour is reserved so that older customers can get essentials while avoiding contact with crowds during the coronavirus pandemic.

Customers were amazed and delighted to find out their shopping bills had been covered by the altruistic Perry.

Credit: Ray Dawson/Kroger

A source told PEOPLE, “He wanted to do something special to provide immediate relief for some of the most vulnerable in the two cities he considers home.”

Perry is well known for his random acts of altruism. PEOPLE were also able to confirm he had very recently given $21,000 in tips to workers at an Atlanta restaurant when picking up takeout.

In November of last year he covered medical bills and travel expenses for a couple who had been trapped in Mexico. The couple had had to get medical help while on vacation in Mexico, and had been prevented from leaving the country when they found they couldn’t afford the $14,000 medical bills.

And in December 2018 he handed over nearly $450,000 to cover the layaway Christmas purchases of around 1500 Walmart customers in Atlanta. Layaway items are put aside with a deposit paid and the balance due at pick-up.

At the time a Walmart spokesperson said, “The heartfelt excitement and joy we’re seeing from our customers as a result of his holiday gift has been touching.”

These are dark, upsetting and uncertain times for so many. There are many for whom these acts of kindness make a huge difference. There are also many for whom making such acts would not make any noticeable impact on their fortunes. Especially now, the world desperately needs more people like Tyler Perry whose kindness spreads a little light. Come on people. You know who you are.

Carolyn Hucker