Local food banks gear up for turkey donations ahead of Thanksgiving

FORT SMITH, Ark — Northwest Arkansas and River Valley Food Banks are gearing up to ship out thousands of Thanksgiving turkeys donated by Cargill Turkey Production.

“Everyone needs a little bit of hope this year, a little bit of normalcy, so to be able to provide that traditional Thanksgiving meal for families is a blessing,” said Sabrina Thiede with the NWA Food Bank.

Cargill donated over 2,000 turkeys to each of the food banks and within the next few days will be shipping those birds to food pantries across the state.

Fort Smith leaders say agencies in the area have been looking forward to this donation all month.

Tracy Engel with the River Valley Food Bank said, “Protein right now is so hard to come by. Our agencies are scrambling for protein, we’ve had some call for the last month in a half asking, ‘where are the turkeys?’, ‘are you going to have turkeys for Thanksgiving?'”

Food bank leaders say the food pantries receiving these turkeys will start handing them out within the next few days, so if you’re needing help this year, start looking for your nearest pantry.

Engel says an easy way is to type in your zip code online and give the nearest pantry a call to see when they are distributing.

“Every pantry has a different way of distributing it, some have sign ups, some are going to give away during their normal pantry hours, and others are going to cook meals,” Thiede said.

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