Tyler Perry is helping elderly customers shopping for groceries amid the coronavirus pandemic.

By Alexia Fernandez and Elizabeth Leonard
April 08, 2020
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Slaven Vlasic/Getty

Tyler Perry surprised elderly shoppers across two states Wednesday morning by covering the cost of their groceries, PEOPLE has exclusively learned.

The TV and movie mogul, 50, paid for the groceries of all elderly shoppers at 44 Kroger stores in Atlanta, Georgia, his hometown state, as well as 29 Winn Dixie stores in his native New Orleans during the hour reserved for older customers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A number of stores are opening their doors early to older people so that they can get their shopping done without the fear of large crowds amid the coronavirus outbreak.

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

His act of kindness comes after Perry gave $21,000 in tips for workers at an Atlanta restaurant while picking up takeout, PEOPLE confirms.

Perry has often famously given a helping hand to those in need.

Winn Dixie in New Orleans
Winn Dixie
Kroger store in Atlanta
Ray Dawson / Kroger
Kroger store in Atlanta
Ray Dawson / Kroger
Kroger store in Atlanta
Ray Dawson / Kroger

In November, Perry came to the aid of a couple from Atlanta who was forced to seek medical treatment while on vacation in Mexico and then were prevented from leaving when they could not afford their $14,000 medical bill.

A source told PEOPLE the star paid the couple’s medical bill and also covered their travel expenses as soon as they were cleared to leave.

“Today I am thankful for and will always be thankful for Tyler Perry,” Austin wrote on Facebook at the time. “My mom was also a huge fan of his.”

In December 2018, Perry spread the holiday cheer by saying he would cover all layaways at two Walmarts in Atlanta. (A layaway allows customers to reserve items at a store by making a deposit and paying the balance later at pick-up.)

LeMia Jenkins, a spokesperson for Walmart, told PEOPLE at the time that the Acrimony director paid about $434,000 in layaway items — products that were ordered by 1,500 people ahead of the holiday season.

“Tyler Perry’s generous donation is making an unbelievable difference for so many families, and we can’t thank him enough for his kindness,” she said in a statement. “The heartfelt excitement and joy we’re seeing from our customers as a result of his holiday gift has been touching.”

The company responded to the actor’s act of kindness, in a response posted on Twitter, “Anonymous or not, we hope you know that you just made Christmas for so many families. You went above and beyond. Thank you #SparkKindness.”

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