If the San Antonio Food Bank can’t collect more donations by Wednesday, Nov. 25, it will be unable to provide thousands of families with Thanksgiving dinner, officials said during an ‘emergency’ press conference on Friday.

The local nonprofit has only received about 3,500 of the 12,500 turkey donations expected, citing last minute planning and a major jump in turkey prices since last year as the reasons behind the shortage.

“We’re a little bit of a last minute community here, and that last minute mindset affects Thanksgiving,” said Eric Cooper, president and CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank.

According to officials, the turkey donations are the only Food Bank initiative lagging behind their donation goals. Citywide canned food drives and the ongoing Food4SA initiative aimed at raising one million pounds of food during November, have been successful.

“People get used to hearing ‘food bank’ and (think) non-perishable canned goods,” Cooper said. “They often don’t think we can handle perishable food, so it’s a process of educating the community.”

Eric Cooper, president and CEO for the San Antonio Food Bank, asks the community to help donate an additional 9,000 turkeys needed for needy families during Thanksgiving. Photo by Lea Thompson.
Eric Cooper, president and CEO for the San Antonio Food Bank, asks the community to help donate an additional 9,000 turkeys for needy families during Thanksgiving. Photo by Lea Thompson.

Individuals and families can click here  to donate to the San Antonio Food Bank’s online fund, which buys a turkey dinner with every $15 raised. Individuals can also donate money or turkeys during the Holiday Turkey Round Up on Saturday, Nov. 21, at the H-E-B Plus at Highway 281 and Evans Road, 20935 Hwy 281 N., from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Families can also bring turkeys in-person to the San Antonio Food Bank, located at 5200 W US Hwy 90 , until Wednesday. The turkeys will be stored in on-site freezers before being packaged in food boxes that will be shipped throughout the region.

The Food Bank has already begun sending out food boxes that provide families with alternative protein items including chicken, ham and even hot dogs.

“They are grateful,” Cooper said of the families receiving donations. “They are giving thanks regardless of what they receive, but how cool would it be if we could provide them with what we all expect on Thanksgiving?”

Cooper mentioned that corporate sponsors had provided a large number of frozen turkey donations in the past, but that the high price point of turkeys may have affected companies too .

“We usually get calls from businesses saying ‘Hey, 200 of our employees don’t want their turkey, so you can have it,’” Cooper said. “We’re just not getting the calls we normally get that would add up to the turkeys that we’ve received in the past.”

The San Antonio Food Bank feeds 58,000 people in 16 counties throughout Southwest Texas each week. Visit www.safoodbank.org for more information on how to give food, money, or time this holiday season.

This article was originally published on Nov. 19, and has been updated with details from a Nov. 20 press conference.

*Top image: The San Antonio Food Bank sends out a call for turkey donations to help feed needy families during Thanksgiving. Photo by Lea Thompson.

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Lea Thompson

Lea Thompson is a Texas native who has lived in Houston, Austin and San Antonio. She enjoys exploring new food and culture events. Follow her adventures on Instagram, Twitter or Culture Spoon.