The Santa Barbara County FoodBank is requesting turkey donations from the community to address a significant shortage in this year’s holiday drive.
As of press time, the food bank has received 1,000 turkey donations, markedly fewer than in previous years. Drive organizers hope to feed over 264 individuals in the nonprofit giveaway.
According to Gina Fischer, development associate of the food bank, the goal is to receive 3,000 turkeys from public donations throughout the rest of the drive.
“Right now the big push is for turkeys.” Fischer said. “Obviously, most families like turkeys for the holidays and they can be really expensive, so the food bank leans on the public and small businesses in town to supply us.”
Fischer said the donations are vital to serve a continuously growing population in the county.
“There are just over 400,000 people in our county, so we serve a huge chunk of people who live in Santa Barbara County.” Fischer said. “We need at least a little bit of food assistance throughout the year, especially now [because] it is the biggest amount of people we have ever been able to serve.”
Local 10-year-old Sophia Hope donated $100 to the cause and inspired this year’s “hope” theme. Fischer said Sophia is an example that can spur others to perform similar acts of kindness.
“We just thought it was really inspiring, and since we are serving more people than ever and a lot of people need hope in Santa Barbara County, we thought we would name our food drive in honor of that theme and in honor of Sophia Hope.” Fischer said.
In order to raise more donations, the food bank is holding a morning on-air turkey drive pledge on the radio station K-Lite 101.7 FM starting tomorrow.
Fischer said the food bank recently received a $10,000 last minute, emergency gift from Santa Barbara Bank & Trust. The group will work along with Albertsons grocery store to purchase 700 turkeys with the funds.
Santa Barbara City College second-year film studies major Hannah Ervin said even small donations provide an invaluable resource for those in need.
“I think it is really great how people are helping the less fortunate have a memorable holiday.” Ervin said. “Every little bit helps towards making Thanksgiving so special for those who can not always have a big Thanksgiving holiday.”
The annual Turkey Drive runs until Nov. 23. Donors can drop off turkeys and non-perishable food items at the local food bank collection barrels or at any Albertsons supermarket.
Online donations can be made at www.foodbanksbc.org, where every $1 contributed to the virtual food drive will be used to buy $9 worth of food.