Entries in Food Bank (3)


First Family Stuffs Sacks at D.C. Food Bank

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The first family stuffed food sacks at the Capital Area Food Bank in northeast Washington Wednesday afternoon, fulfilling an annual pre-Thanksgiving tradition of performing an act of community service.

The Obamas stood side by side along an assembly line of workers in the food bank warehouse, stuffing reusable grocery sacks with various food items as volunteers filed by. The packages were later bound for delivery to needy children and older Americans.

The president greeted volunteers with a “Happy Thanksgiving” as he handed out packages of baby carrots. While the first lady deposited bundles of grapes, older daughter Malia doled out sweet potatoes and Sasha dished boxes of White House branded M&Ms.

About 100 of the packages were bound for in-person delivery, while the remainder were to be delivered by local social service agencies, the White House said.

The Obamas were joined by 50 members of their extended family and players from the Oregon State basketball team, but the White House did not immediately identify who was in attendance. Michelle Obama’s brother, Craig, is the head basketball coach for Oregon State.

As part of the community service excursion, the Obamas also donated two fully dressed turkeys from Jaindl’s Turkey Farm of Lehigh, Pa., as well as a stash of White House M&Ms and other foodstuffs collected during an East Wing food drive.

The food bank is the largest nonprofit hunger and nutrition education resource in the Washington Metropolitan area, distributing nearly 30 million pounds of food a year, per the White House.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Food Banks Struggling with Holiday Turkey Shortage

Comstock/Thinkstock(FORT SMITH, Ark.) -- Last year, the River Valley Regional Food Bank donated 2,000 to 4,000 turkeys to families in need.

This Thanksgiving, the Fort Smith, Ark., site has a little more than 200 turkeys.

“Normally, we have very generous food manufacturers that donate to us,” said Ken Kupchick, the Feeding America food bank’s marketing and development director. “You name it. We are supported by major food producers. Donations are there....It’s just not here this Thanksgiving.”

Shannon Traeger, a media relations associate for Feeding America’s national office, said the turkey shortage was being felt by the group’s 200 food banks across the U.S.

The 200 or so turkeys the Fort Smith food bank will give away came from Walmart. Kupchick said half would go to disabled veterans and their families and the rest would be handed out to families of four and more during a church event this weekend.

The food bank has 170 pantries assisting 12,000 families in need, including 25,000 children classified as “food insecure” and close to the same number of residents 50 and older.

Kupchick said the food bank had searched high and low for holiday birds.

He said a Pennsylvania seller had offered turkeys with missing parts for 93 cents a pound, but the cost of the birds plus transportation would have reached $45,000. The food bank asked other food banks to split the deal, but got no takers.

Kupchick told ABC News that the situation was more stressful because Whirlpool, a major local employer, had announced an early-2012 closing of its manufacturing plant, putting residents on edge.

“To see the faces of the unemployed is very disturbing,” he said. “We’re in for a long haul.”

Traeger reminded Americans that the need for food assistance wasn’t only a holiday problem.

“Feeding America network food banks continue to report significant increases in the number of people seeking assistance,” she said via email. “Nearly 49 million men, women and children worry about the source of their next meal.”

If you would like to donate money to help those in need of food, there are several ways:

Donate to the Fort Smith food bank here and to Feeding America here.

You can also make a food donation to your local food pantry.

Donations can also be sent to: P.O. Box 4069, Fort Smith, AR 72914

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Thanksgiving Turkey Shortage for Recession-Hit Families

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DENVER) -- From California to Connecticut, food banks and charities nationwide report that donations of frozen turkeys -- the cornerstone of a traditional Thanksgiving meal -- have fallen dramatically this holiday season.

"This year has been really tough," said Denver Rescue Mission's Greta Walker. "We started the turkey drive on November 1 and about ten days into it, we had zero turkeys. And I started to get really worried."

As of late Sunday, the mission was still 2,000 turkeys short of its goal.

"We know that people have been struggling with the economy," said Walker. "We can tell with our numbers every day."

Walker says the turkey shortage ripples out to smaller charities around the Denver area. That's because each year, the Denver Rescue Mission provides 5,000 turkeys to about 80 other charities and organizations including Volunteers of America.

Last year the Colorado branch of Volunteers of America asked the Denver Rescue Mission for 200 turkeys. Due to a growing need this year, they're now asking for 1,000 frozen birds.

"Across the board, need is going up and people are tightening their wallets," said Allison Kuthy of Volunteers of America. "It gets tough to do our jobs."

The fall in turkey donations this year is also compounded by a rise in turkey prices.

"Retail prices will be up, on average, about 20 percent this year," said Thomas Elam of Indiana-based FarmEcon, an agricultural industry consulting firm.

Elam blames rising costs on a reduction in turkey supply and production this year along with a steep jump in the price of corn and soybeans farmers feed growing birds. Now, higher prices at the supermarket may be causing fewer people to buy an extra turkey to donate.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio