Poultry, please!

It’s 25 down, 2,975 to go for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County’s annual turkey drive, and the agency is hoping residents and businesses will help feed hundreds of people this holiday season.

The Foodbank distributes the turkeys to 264 county agencies that don’t have the freezer space to store their own.

Having a slow start is nothing new, but this year’s level is unprecedented, according to development associate Gina Fischer. She said she hopes Santa Barbara residents may not yet be in the Thanksgiving mind-set, and that a reminder will spur people into action.

“If we can’t collect all these turkeys, that’s a lot of nonprofit food pantries and soup kitchens that don’t get them,” Fischer said.

In addition to the bigger birds, the Foodbank has a lot of demand for frozen chickens, as many low-income families don’t have the oven space or know-how to cook a whole turkey, Fischer said.

For $5 per chicken, the Foodbank can buy 4,000 chickens, but it asks the community to help with the turkeys.

Canned food items are being collected as well, through Dec. 31, and holiday foods such as stuffing, cranberry sauce and green beans, and year-round necessities such as rice are most needed.

The holiday food drives are most well-known and bring out generosity in people, and the food collected in November and December is needed to get the Foodbank through the leaner months.

“I just think that the economy’s pretty bad and there’s a lot of uncertainty, even in our county,” Fischer said.

The turkey drive ends Nov. 23 and the holiday food drive ends Dec. 31, though food and monetary donations can be given year-round through the Foodbank’s Web site or warehouses at 4554 Hollister Ave. in Santa Barbara and 490 W. Foster Road in Santa Maria.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at gmagnoli@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Managing Editor

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at gmagnoli@noozhawk.com.