Nonprofits Aim for a Happy Thanksgiving
By Dianne Anderson
Turkeys and the fixings are overpriced and in high demand but limited supply, leaving slim pickings for providers and nonprofits trying to get a turkey in every pot.
Some organizations are calling on community to pitch in, drop off canned goods and nonperishable donations to help make up the shortfall that the community is facing.
“We definitely saw a marked increase in the price of turkeys over last year,” said Patricia Nickols-Butler, President and CEO of Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County.
She said part of the issue is that their turkeys are not donated to them, rather their funding only allows for the purchase of turkeys and food produced in California. Pound for pound, the birds are much more expensive this time around.
CAPSBC is distributing only 2,500 turkeys this year, seriously down from last year at about 6,000.
Christmas may see some more turkeys coming around, but for now, she said they are also offering distribution of other food products, including chicken, turkey breasts and pork loin.
“We’re adding that to our food boxes, which will contain other meat and food items as well to the turkey distribution, and that will get them a greater variety of food,” she said.
Not counting the soaring food prices at grocery stores, she said this holiday season is hard on many families dealing with back due rent and, or, evictions. CAPSBC is seeing a great need for help, and people are further behind locally compared to the national average.
“We’ve been doing rental assistance for families, the average is $6-7,000 per household,” she said. “It’s much higher than 3,500 [average back due rent].”
This year, she said CAPSBC is focused on direct distribution to the community with their in-house team holding two events.
On Friday, the organization held the Annual Turkey Giveaway at the Joshua Tree Sportsman’s Club. On Saturday, November 20, the event is held at San Bernardino Valley College from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. with distribution of 1,500 turkeys and USDA food boxes to families. Registration is required.
They also provided turkeys to support events hosted by Victor Valley Family Resource Center in the High Desert, along with 100 turkeys for Assemblymember James Ramos’ first-come, first-serve event on Saturday, November 20 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at San Bernardino County Fire Station #228 located at 3398 E. Highland Ave. in San Bernardino.
Dr. Gwen Dowdy Rodgers, President and CEO of Arrowhead United Way, is asking the community to dig deeper in their shopping carts this holiday to help those in need.
Her organization has its Annual Turkey Drive in motion, and the community is invited to donate until November 22. They accept frozen turkeys, frozen or canned hams, canned vegetables, yams, pumpkins and all traditional fixings associated with the feast. It all goes back to serving individual households and nonprofits.
Nationwide, smaller birds and the fixings slow on the supply distribution side prevented the birds from reaching the market, along with the shortage of workers at food factories during the pandemic. The birds stayed on the farms and kept eating. Now, most turkey supplies at stores are big birds over 16 pounds.
Dowdy Rodgers said there is a noticeable impact from the shortage.
“Ironically, turkeys are like the new chicken wings that you can’t get,” she said.
Despite the limitations, she said Arrowhead United Way continues strong. Since the pandemic, they never stopped providing their many services, including food and finances.
“Because our name is out there, we’ve truly grown our effort with those that have donated to us,” she said. “People will be bringing food. We’ll put together food baskets for those who have reached out to us, and giving to those families, or partnering with organizations that do not have any support.”
Pastor Paul Jones is grateful for help from various providers and organizations, including food boxes from CAPSBC. He’s also been on a personal hunt for turkeys wherever he can find them for months now.
A lot of products also came from Arrowhead United Way, and every little bit counts. Last week, he received about 400 turkeys from Morongo Band of Mission Indians with their Great Turkey Giveaway.
On November 19, Friday, Jones will give away those 400 turkeys at Perris Hill Park, first come first serve. Officially, the event starts at 10 a.m., but he said people should get there about an hour earlier.
Many have been calling for food baskets, especially turkeys.
“We started trying to get some turkeys in August. I got them from Morongo and from a contact in Los Angeles,” he said, adding that he is also mixing up his event with a chance to win crock pots and thermos and crystal glass giveaway.
“We’ve already got 900 boxes of stuffing, we have mac and cheese,” he said. “We’re incorporating the boxes with our USDA giveaway so there’s going to be additional ground beef, pork loin and chicken. We’re giving that plus the Thanksgiving baskets, they’ll be happy when they leave us.”
To register for the SBVC Turkey Giveaway, see www.bit.ly/annualturkeygiveaway
To donate food, see https://www.arrowheadunitedway.org/