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Thanksgiving turkey shortage has Arizona food banks scrambling to meet demand

(Facebook/Community Thanksgiving Dinner)

PHOENIX — After the Avian flu took out millions of turkeys earlier this year, food banks across Arizona are trying to catch up with demand with just three weeks left until Thanksgiving.

“There’s just a shortage on the amount of turkeys,” Jerry Brown with St. Mary’s Food Bank said. “The amount of turkeys that we do have are smaller this year.”

The food bank assembles approximately 40,000 food boxes and sees about 7,000 people per day during the week leading up to Thanksgiving. Brown said all of those food boxes may not have turkeys this holiday season.

“It’s just a question of whether or not we’ll be able to put a turkey with all of those,” he said. “We want to be able to do that, and I think a lot of people make an annual donation of (turkeys), and we’re hoping that they’re able to do that this year.”

So far, Brown said St. Mary’s is about 9,000 turkeys shy of what they need.

“With all the talk about turkey shortages and high turkey prices, there is certainly a concern that we may not get enough turkeys donated to meet all that demand,” he said.

For those who want to make a turkey donation to the St. Mary’s Food Banks in Phoenix and Surprise, call 602-242-FOOD to schedule a pick-up. Brown said a cash donation of just $10-$12 can put a turkey on someone’s plate this holiday season.

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