The Statesboro Food Bank Inc. is experiencing a shortage of some items as Thanksgiving approaches. In addition to the usual need for all nonperishable foods, there is a deficit of items needed to make holiday meals — namely turkeys, said food bank director Jodi Brannon.
In past years, various organizations have donated frozen turkeys to the local food bank, but not this year, she said. The small number of turkeys on hand are reserved for larger families, where they can feed the most people, she said.
“Feed the Boro will give anyone an individual traditional Thanksgiving meal,” but with the limited number of turkeys available, not every client may receive a turkey this year, she said.
It isn’t just turkeys that are needed. The Statesboro Food Bank is very low on canned fruits and peanut butter, a common staple. Donations of holiday items such as dressing mixes, canned sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce would be welcomed as well, Brannon said.
Helping to enable less fortunate families enjoy a home-cooked holiday meal together is nice, but the food bank has a year-round demand for nonperishable foods of all kinds for families who find themselves in need for a variety of reasons, she said.
“We are still having people experience delays with food stamp renewals,” she said. “I don’t know what is up with that.”
The Statesboro Herald has inquired about problems with food stamp renewals in Bulloch County but has not received an answer from state agencies.
Every year, food donations increase during the holidays, but so do needs, she said. The donations received during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season “have to get us through to the Letter Carriers Food Drive” in the spring, and sometimes the food collected then gets sparse as fall approaches once again, she said.
Families who approach the food bank are given seven days’ worth of food, meant to bridge the gap until funds or food stamps come in, according to Brannon.
The foods needed most at this time, besides holiday turkeys, are canned or dried fruits and peanut butter, which is a protein, she said. But year-round, canned meat, vegetables, pasta, rice, cereals, canned milk, bread items and things like crackers, cookies, cereal and breakfast bars are also needed, she said.
“Crider Poultry is always good at donating canned white meat chicken,” she added. “Donations of pasta sides like Chicken Helper, something to make a meal, are good.”
Recent food drives such as one conducted by the Bulloch County Schools have been extremely helpful, and even the smallest donation counts, she said. But the demand is constant, and so is the need for donations.
“If you pick up a bag of rice, or a can of corn, pick one up for us,” she said.
Monetary donations are especially helpful, too, as they go toward paying the electricity bills at the food bank as well as purchasing more food “at a much lesser cost, from Second Harvest, than we can get anywhere else,” she said.
The Statesboro Food Bank Inc. is located in the old Julia P. Bryant Elementary School cafeteria, at 400 Donnie Simmons Way in Statesboro. For more information, contact Brannon at (912) 489-3663.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.