A low supply of turkeys this year is spiking prices to historical levels, potentially forcing lower income families to forego the Thanksgiving dinner staple, according to a regional food bank.
There is a significant need for frozen turkey donations this year due to the shortage, a release from The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties says.
Russell Whitman, a poultry expert at Urner Barry, a commodity news reporting service, says there are fewer turkeys available since last year, and prices are the highest in recorded history.
“At a glance, this year has been an especially devastating one for the U.S. turkey industry because of the historical outbreak of high path avian influenza,” he said. “This deadly outbreak, the biggest ever in U.S. history, resulted in the loss of more than 8 million turkeys, including young and breeder flocks.”
Accordingly, the available supply of whole turkey and turkey meat “was significantly reduced,” he said, “so not only are prices higher than at any time in recorded history but available supplies are also the lowest.”
The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties fears that many low income households will not be able to purchase turkeys and have Thanksgiving at home.
“The FoodBank has ordered 10,000 turkeys, and while generous retail businesses have donated (including 1,500 from Stop & Shop and 500 from McDonald’s), we are still short by 2,000 turkeys, based on number of requests from our feeding programs,” the release says.
Frozen turkey donations can be brought directly to the FoodBank (3300 Route 66, Neptune) between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday or any WindMill Restaurant.
“We need turkeys no later than November 16th in order to distribute them in time for Thanksgiving Dinner,” the release says. “There are 132,000 people in Monmouth and Ocean counties. 1 in 10 who are food insecure rely on us and our partner agencies for help.”