Foodbank of Santa Barbara County’s Turkey Drive Struggles to Meet Donation Goal


Updated: 3:55 AM, Wed November 15, 2023

Foodbank of Santa Barbara County Faces Challenges in Meeting Turkey Donation Goal

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County in California is facing difficulties in reaching its target of 4,000 turkey donations for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Despite initiating the annual Turkey Drive on November 1, the organization has received fewer contributions than expected. With only 252 turkeys donated and Thanksgiving just 10 days away, there is a significant shortfall. The Foodbank has seen a 40% increase in the number of people it serves compared to last year, with over 230,000 individuals in need. Low-income families are particularly affected by rising food and gas prices, overall inflation, the expiration of pandemic-related food assistance programs, and a lack of affordable housing and childcare.

The annual Turkey Drive seeks to provide wholesome holiday meals to local families facing financial struggles. However, the soaring demand for assistance in the county has put immense pressure on the Foodbank to meet this increasing need during the holiday season.

Foodbank CEO Erik Talkin explains that family expenses are outpacing work wages, causing more people to rely on the organization’s services. Additionally, a volatile supply chain and competitive produce market have made it increasingly difficult to obtain food donations, resulting in higher costs for purchases. Currently, 1 in 4 people in Santa Barbara County are experiencing food insecurity, with 38% of those being children.

Paul Wilkins, the Foodbank’s Chief Operations Officer, emphasizes the need for small turkeys and chickens to ensure that everyone in the county can have a nutritious holiday dinner. Considering the highest food inflation rate in decades, food banks nationwide anticipate significant challenges in the last quarter of this year. The urgency is heightened even further in 2023.

Community members who wish to support the Turkey Drive can drop off turkeys, chickens, and hams at the Foodbank’s warehouses in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria from Monday to Friday until November 22. Donations are encouraged to be made by November 22 to ensure timely delivery to families in preparation for Thanksgiving. However, the Foodbank will continue to accept donations for holiday food distribution until December 11, offering extended support to families throughout the festive season.

For those unable to provide fresh or frozen birds in person, there is an option to sponsor holiday meals online by visiting

Community members or local businesses interested in hosting their own turkey drive can contact the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County at 805-967-5741 or email

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County’s mission is to combat hunger and food insecurity by promoting good nutrition and food literacy. It achieves this through a network of more than 200 partner agencies, nutrition education programs, and food distribution sites operated by volunteers. In Santa Barbara County, 1 in 4 individuals receive support from the Foodbank, with children comprising 38% of those served.

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Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson, a seasoned journalist and USA news expert, leads The Reportify's coverage of American current affairs. With unwavering commitment, he delivers up-to-the-minute, credible information, ensuring readers stay informed about the latest events shaping the nation. Michael's keen research skills and ability to craft compelling narratives provide deep insights into the ever-evolving landscape of USA news. He can be reached at for any inquiries or further information.

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