Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Can We Talk Turkey?

Anyone who knows me knows my severe aversion to turkeys. Call me Scrooge if you want. I consider it a compliment.

I run a regional food bank.

This time of year, the phone rings off the hook and we have a constant stream of drop in turkey drop offs.

It seems, if you believe our experience, that poor people are hungry only between mid-November and the first of January.

We will receive an avalanche of turkeys over the next few weeks. This is not a bad thing except

1) Turkeys don't stack! This is only an issue if your freezer (like mine) is of the walk-in (drive-in) variety and roughly 12' X 60' (that's feet!) without bins or shelves.

2) Many poor people don't have an oven big enough to cook a turkey (do you know how much of the US population cooks in a microwave, a toaster oven, or on a hot plate?)

3) Many of those same people can't deal with leftovers because their fridge is the same size as one in a dorm room.

4) Many of them, even with printed instructions, don't have the capability of thawing and cooking a big bird safely.

5) For many, it's not part of their culture.

6) And this is the big one: We're committed to seeing that people eat every single day. So for us, the holidays are Just Another Day. Better to have peanut butter and jelly every day than turkey once a year. My opinion.

So what's my point? Just this: The need is on-going and constant. Whether it's for appropriate clothing, nourishing food, or treats. Please trust the folks who are on the front line to do what is best with your donations. They will.

Consider this a strong request for year round donations of food and funds. Ask what is most needed. (Some food banks will tell you "turkeys." Please listen!) If you ask me what my food ank needs, I will tell you tuna, and cereal, and bath soap. Have a turkey already? I might direct you to a soup kitchen or an emergency pantry that needs it!

Okay, all that aside. Turkeys in quantity afford me and my senior staff the opportunity to haze the new folks by making them be the ones to haul the birds all the way to the freezer multiple times a day.

So there's some entertainment value.

Just sayin'
And it's so amazing that in both Tucson, AZ and Willcox, AZ and Pittsburgh, PA they have drives for turkeys both for Thanksgiving and for Christmas! But watching the newbies in your employ battle turkeys and min-frostbite and sore calf muscles must, indeed, be entertaining.
i have never donated a turkey. if i do, it goes to the local shelter, where they cook the food. otherwise i go for non-perishable goods, i.e. canned veggies, mac & cheese, etc. cheap, but still good for ya.
What you say makes soo much sense. Last Xmas we needed a little charity - sheets & cooking utensils. The charity worker was wonderful, but she wanted to give us a Xmas pudding too - she was worried our celebration would be spoilt. We declined the offer, but loved the thought.
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