Food banks grappling with turkey shortage in wake of bird flu

Nov 16, 2015

When a bird flu wiped out 8 million turkeys, food banks across the country expressed concern that many families in financial need might be deprived of a Thanksgiving Day ritual.

The Food Bank of WNY is asking local residents to help the agency grapple with a major challenge.

“With the bird flu outbreak earlier in spring, we saw the demand go up and the price skyrocket as well,
 said Catherine Shick, the Food Bank's public and community relations coordinator. "Because of that, we are hoping to get donations of whole frozen chickens in addition to turkeys this year."

Credit Food Bank of WNY

The agency has set a goal of distributing 4,500 turkeys to families across Western New York, but Shick said it will need help from the public.

By some national estimates, the average cost of a turkey is up 20 percent this year. Shick said the turkey shortage has spurred some food banks to pursue other options.

“We’re also accepting donations of chickens," she said. "We understand that the bird flu has created a turkey shortage, and the whole frozen chicken will make a nice holiday meal as well."

She added that food bank officials are confident that donors will help to make Thanksgiving a memorable holiday for families who are in need.

Credit Food Bank of WNY

“It can be a stressful time for many who may not know where their next meal is coming from. So at the Food Bank of Western New York we do our best to make sure that everyone has a happy holiday where they can put food on the table and make memories.” 

Donations can be dropped off at 91 Holt St. in Buffalo. The Food Bank is also staging  a “Rock out Hunger” event at Eastern Hills Mall from November 18th through the 25th.