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Food pantries, food banks in need this Thanksgiving amid turkey shortage

Posted at 9:33 AM, Nov 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-11 10:33:27-05

WACO, Texas — Thanksgiving is right around the corner and there's a turkey shortage.

While that could spell trouble for your holiday plans, it's also impacting the food banks that so many people rely on to help make ends meet.

Times are tough.

Theresa King does what she can to get by, which includes a trip to Caritas of Waco to get a grocery basket full of food once or twice a month.

"Well, it takes a load off me," King told 25 News and she's certainly not alone.

On any given weekday you'll find 100 people standing in the food pick-up line.

"It provides me when I'm in need and when money is low," King said.

Charles Harris makes sure Caritas clients qualify for assistance and that they get what they need.

"We're here to help," Harris told 25 News. "So, our thing is to try to find a solution to the problem," but that's getting tricky.

All the food that ends up at Caritas is donated but less is coming in.

The charity is seeing a slight decline in fresh produce and meat.

"Unfortunately, this Thanksgiving, we may not receive the normal distribution of turkeys," Harris said.

There's plenty of room for more donations in the warehouse where folks like Baylor student Sara Nordby volunteer.

"I was looking for a place to help out and found this place," Nordby said.

Caritas hands out anywhere from 300 to 500 turkeys each Thanksgiving but according to Texas A&M AgriLife, there is a 5% decrease in poultry production this season, driving turkey prices up by about 30 cents per pound.

"Oh man, it's kind of sad and unfortunate because a lot of people do rely on us," Harris said.

For now, Caritas is hoping their donor will come through and help those birds land on their clients' tables.

For King, whether she ends up with a turkey or not this Thanksgiving, "I eat whatever I can, you know," she's just grateful with whatever ends up on her table.

And it's not just food banks, grocery stores are bracing for turkey shortages too.