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Foodbank Short on Turkeys to Help Feed Families This Thanksgiving

As the holiday nears, the organization is still far from its goal of collecting 3,000 turkeys to serve those in need

Putting a turkey on the table of every family in need this Thanksgiving is the goal of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, but more people will have to step up to make that goal a reality.

The Foodbank aims to collect 3,000 donated turkeys for Thanksgiving meals that will be set out next Thursday, but time is getting short, according to Jamie Nichols, the Foodbank's director of operations.

Many agencies are coming to the Foodbank now as they begin to prepare for next week's feast, but some are being turned away and told to check back with the hopes that more food will become available.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Foodbank had received 608 turkeys, most of which have been delivered to service providers such as Garden Court, which provides affordable housing for low-income seniors.

To keep up with the Foodbank's current turkey number, click here to watch the count on its website.

Nichols walked into the large walk-in freezer, revealing a bin that had 15 to 20 turkeys inside.

"We are really low," he said. "It's coming down to the eleventh hour."

Frozen turkeys need two days to defrost, so Nichols encouraged those who want to donate not to wait until the last minute but to bring in turkeys now.

"Anything past Monday is cutting it really close," he said.

About 15,000 clients benefit from the Foodbank's offerings during the holiday season, Nichols said.

Several people walked up with frozen turkeys to donate while Nichols was talking, but many more are needed to make the drive a success.

The Foodbank's priority is providing those in need with healthy options, and pallets of carrots that sat in the parking lot were picked up earlier that morning from a local grocery store.

Education is also part of the Foodbank's mission. Walking through the refrigeration room, Nichols pointed to several pallets of butter lettuce waiting to be delivered.

"If one of our providers says, 'We don't know how to prepare or use butter lettuce,' we'll go and show them how to use it," he said.

During the holidays, chickens are also needed, as many families don't have a large enough oven to cook a turkey or are just more familiar with cooking a chicken than a turkey.

The Foodbank's website includes a list of high-demand items that are also needed. The organization is able to use monetary donations to purchase food at reduced rates and get the best bang for the buck, and donations can be made online by clicking here or contacting the Foodbank at 805-967-5741.

To donate a turkey, bring them to the Foodbank warehouse at 4554 Hollister Ave., Santa Barbara, Calif., 93110.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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