A Kenai Peninsula Food Bank truck in the Food Bank parking lot on Aug. 4, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

A Kenai Peninsula Food Bank truck in the Food Bank parking lot on Aug. 4, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Food Bank seeking donations amid soaring turkey costs

The food bank is holding a fundraiser asking members of the community to adopt a turkey

Earlier this year, the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank had to start special fundraising efforts to combat the effect of high gas prices. This holiday season the organization is being hit with another unique need — the skyrocketing price of turkeys as a result of both inflation and highly pathogenic avian influenza.

“The price of turkeys themselves, that we’re able to get wholesale, is almost doubled,” Claire Jones, administrative assistant with the food bank, said Friday. “Typically, we’re able to offer them at a discount to our agencies, but bridging that gap, even if we discounted it less than we normally would, we’re still left with about a $14,000 bill. That’s not including transportation.”

To bridge the gap, the food bank is holding a fundraiser asking members of the community to adopt a turkey. A donation of $25 is enough to provide a turkey and feed one family this holiday season. Donations can be made online at the food bank website or by phone at 907-262-3111.

The food bank has purchased 1,200 turkeys to feed the community, and half of the turkeys are covered by a $10,000 donation from Marathon. Jones said they’re hoping the fundraiser can cover a further 300 of the turkeys. They hit the halfway mark on Thursday, ahead of Thanksgiving, which is something like the halfway mark of the campaign; the turkeys are also distributed for Christmas.

Jones said Marathon made the donation ahead of time, anticipating the need during the holiday season.

The food bank partners with various groups, churches, food pantries, senior centers and more to get turkeys into the hands of those who need them.

The adopt-a-turkey campaign is accepting donations from businesses, but Jones said it was designed with individuals in mind, $25 being a reasonable — and hopefully affordable — amount for someone to donate.

“A lot of people tend to look for things that they can help with during the holiday season,” Jones said. “This is a nice way to do that.”

Aside from the adopt-a-turkey effort, the food bank will also be hosting big holiday meals in their diner for Thanksgiving and Christmas — 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23 and Friday, Dec. 23.

The food bank is also partnering with Love INC and Salvation Army to provide holiday food boxes — those in need can be referred to the other organizations to apply.

Also, there are food drives, both formal and informal, around the Kenai Peninsula.

Organizations can either collect food and donate it informally, or fill out forms for an official drive, where the food bank will then help with advertising and pickup.

“The area that we’re struggling most in now is actually food,” Jones said. “The supply that we’re able to order from is just diminished. It’s getting kind of bare back there in the warehouse.”

She said last quarter around 50,000 more pounds of food were distributed than brought in — a food deficit.

Jones encouraged anyone interested in helping, donating, or hosting a food drive to “just give us a call.”

To donate, or for more information about the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, visit kpfoodbank.org or call 907-262-3111.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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