Holiday turkey drive helps feed Arizona's hungry

Posted: Updated:
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away, but sadly, thousands of families in Arizona won't be able to sit down for a holiday meal. Statistics show that one in four kids in our state goes to bed hungry.

But you can help this holiday season! St. Mary's Food Bank and Safeway are teaming up for  a major turkey drive.

"We desperately need to raise 20,000 turkeys to help families this Thanksgiving. Again this year we've partnered with Safeway to help assist families who otherwise would go without a turkey," said Jerry Brown, Director of Public Relations at St. Mary's Food Bank.

Customers are asked to pick up an extra turkey for a family in need when they go to the grocery store. Turkeys collected will be left at Safeway, and St. Mary's Food Bank will gather donated turkeys from the store leading up to the holiday.

In Southern Arizona, turkeys will benefit the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

Safeway is also doing a "turkey for turkey match." For every turkey that is donated, Safeway will donate one turkey to St. Mary's Food Bank/Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

"Last year, St. Mary's Food Bank launched Arizona's Big Turkey Drive with Safeway.  This drive was a big reason why more than 20,000 families received turkeys. In addition, more than 100,000 Arizona families received holiday food boxes from St. Mary's Food Bank over the 2013 holiday season," says Brown.

Hunger statistics:
-Arizona is one of the worst states in the U.S. when it comes to child hunger, and the 5th worst for overall food insecurity.
-1 in 4 children; 1 in 5 adults; and 1 in 7 seniors struggle with hunger.
-888,100 Arizonans received emergency food assistance in 2009, an 85 percent increase from the 2006 study.
-Almost half (46 percent) of those were children under the age of 18
-74 percent of households lived below the federal poverty line, defined as $22,050 annually for a family of four.