TAMPA, Fla. – The American Farm Bureau Federation reports the price of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people is down 4.5%, compared to 2022. But in the Tampa Bay area, the need for food assistance is higher than ever.
The Salvation Army is hosting its largest turkey giveaway in Clearwater Monday and Tuesday ahead of Thanksgiving. Major Ted Morris said more meal tickets were given away faster than ever before.
“About 30 years ago, a lady drove up to the Salvation Army in her Camaro with about a dozen frozen turkeys, and she said, ‘can you use turkeys for Thanksgiving?’ We said ‘absolutely.'” he said.
Since then, the anonymous donor’s generosity has grown exponentially. This year, she donated 12,500 turkeys and fix-ins. Meal tickets have already sold out.
“We know the need is there from the community, and if we could provide even for one day to somehow lift that burden. We want to do what we can,” Morris said.
Two members from the Dunedin Rotary Club picked up 60 turkeys for its members in need.
“I think everyone has the same story. There are obviously problems with the cost of food and the cost of rent and so forth, so to have a free meal is very important,” Member Mel Ora said.
That’s the case for 86-year-old Shirley Travis, who picked up a turkey to host her daughter, son-in-law, and great-grandson.
“It was very easy. Everybody was so kind,” she said, “It’s very nice that they have this for the people. Especially at a lot of people can go out and buy for themselves and a lot of people really do need it.”
The turkey giveaway continues Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, click here.