Foodbank Seeing Critical Shortage in Turkey Donations This Year

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Families feel the pinch of inflation and increased food costs – Local nonprofit is only at 6% of its goal of 4,000 turkeys

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County may not hit its goal of 4,000 turkey donations before the Thanksgiving holiday on November 23.

The Foodbank initiated its annual Turkey Drive on November 1, however the level of contributions received has not met the anticipated expectations. The need is outpacing donations with only 252 birds currently donated and 10 days left before Thanksgiving. This year, the Foodbank served over 230,000 unduplicated individuals—a 40% increase from last year.

Low-income families are feeling the pressure of increased food and gas prices, inflation as a whole, the expiration of pandemic-related food programs and a lack of affordable housing and affordable childcare.

The annual Turkey Drive seeks to provide wholesome holiday meals to local families who are struggling financially. The demand for assistance has sharply increased throughout the county, necessitating this significant effort to support those facing food insecurity during the holiday season.

“We are seeing family expenses outpace work wages which is creating a spike in the number of people needing to use Foodbank services,” says Foodbank CEO Erik Talkin. A volatile supply chain and competitive produce market have resulted in heightened difficulty in obtaining food donations, and purchase are more expensive.

The Foodbank has spent 38% more on produce purchases in 2023 than in 2022. Currently, 1 in 4 people in Santa Barbara County are facing food insecurity with 38% of those children.

“The Foodbank needs small turkeys and chickens to ensure everyone in our county can have a wholesome holiday dinner,” explained Paul Wilkins, Foodbank Chief Operations Officer. “With the highest food inflation rate in decades, food banks across the country expect to be hit hard in the last quarter of the year, the need is higher now than ever this year.”

Drive Details: Community members may drop off turkeys, chickens, and hams at the Foodbank’s warehouses Monday through Friday at our Santa Barbara and Santa Maria warehouses.

Duration: The Turkey Drive will be active from November 1 to November 22, 2023.

Drop-Off Locations

  • Santa Barbara: 4554 Hollister Ave, Monday to Friday, 7 am to 3 pm.
  • Santa Maria: 490 W. Foster Road, Monday to Friday, 7 am to 3 pm.


Deadline: Donations are encouraged to be made by November 22, 2023, ensuring timely delivery to families in preparation for Thanksgiving.

 Extended Support: While the Turkey Drive concludes on November 22, the Foodbank will continue to accept donations for holiday food distribution until December 11, 2023, supporting families throughout the holiday season.

In lieu of dropping off fresh or frozen birds, community members may sponsor holiday meals online by visiting: to donate.

Community members or local businesses who would like to host a turkey drive may call 805-967-5741 or email

About the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is transforming health by eliminating hunger and food insecurity through good nutrition and food literacy. The Foodbank provides nourishment and education through a network of more than 200 partner agencies, nutrition education programs and food distribution sites operated by the Foodbank and its volunteers. In Santa Barbara County, one in four people receive support from the Foodbank – 38% of the people we serve are children. 

For more information, visit

Foodbank of Santa Barbara County

Written by Foodbank of Santa Barbara County

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is a 501(c)3 organization. We are ending hunger and transforming the health of Santa Barbara County through good nutrition. We serve the community as a leader and expert in improving the nutritional health of our county through increased food security. Learn more at

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