St. Mary’s Food Bank facing turkey donation shortage as Thanksgiving nears

Nov 17, 2023, 4:35 AM | Updated: 6:57 am

St. Mary's Food Bank is collecting turkeys to provide Thanksgiving meals to more than 20,000 Valley...

St. Mary's Food Bank is collecting turkeys to provide Thanksgiving meals to more than 20,000 Valley families in need. (St. Mary's Food Bank Photo)

(St. Mary's Food Bank Photo)

PHOENIX – St. Mary’s Food Bank is making a final push to collect enough turkeys to provide Thanksgiving meals for a record number of Valley families in need.

Spokesman Jerry Brown said Thursday the nonprofit organization was 7,000 turkeys short of its goal of about 21,000 with one week left until Thursday’s holiday.

“That’s more than we’ve ever needed at this point,” Brown told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show. “One of the reasons is we’re putting out more turkeys than we ever have before. This is going to be a record year for the amount of people who come.”

St. Mary’s distributed more than 20,000 turkeys and holiday food boxes in the days leading up to Thanksgiving in 2022.

How can people donate Thanksgiving turkeys to St. Mary’s Food Bank?

The charitable organization hopes to make big dent in the deficit this weekend during its 18th annual Super Saturday Turkey Drive. Volunteers will accept donations of turkeys and other food items from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday at the food bank’s two Valley distribution locations and 19 Albertson’s and Safeway stores around metro Phoenix.

“So, when you’re out shopping for your family for Thanksgiving, you can drop off a turkey, you can drop off food, you can do whatever it is that that you feel comfortable to help put that Thanksgiving table together for another family,” Brown said.

Albertson’s and Safeway will match the first 500 turkeys donated Saturday. The full list of participating supermarkets is available online.

Donors can also drop off frozen turkeys and other food items Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday at either St. Mary’s distribution location, on 31st Avenue just south of Thomas Road in Phoenix and at 13050 W. Elm Street in Surprise, near Bell and Dysart roads.

Monetary donations — $20 puts a turkey on a family’s table — can also be made during Saturday’s event, at the food bank locations or through the St. Mary’s website.

Why are so many Valley residents seeking food assistance?

Brown said he expects a large demand at the St. Mary’s location in Surprise, near where many seniors on fixed incomes are being squeezed by inflation.

“We used to get about 100 to 175 people a day at our Surprise location, and our numbers have been over 600 a day now,” he said.

Many of those people are seniors seeking food assistance for the first time, including some who do volunteer work with St. Mary’s and then go home with a food box.

“Their fixed incomes were able to handle everything, they had enough money, and then all of a sudden inflation went sideways and the money that they receive from Social Security and those fixed incomes stayed the same,” Brown said.

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St. Mary’s Food Bank facing turkey donation shortage as Thanksgiving nears