Fairbanks Community Food Bank facing shortage of Thanksgiving donations

Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 4:22 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Fairbanks Community Food Bank is currently experiencing a shortage on Thanksgiving donations.

According to Anne Weaver, CEO of the Fairbanks Community Food Bank, the Food Bank has received well-under projected donation goals so far this month.

“We’re hoping that the last couple of weeks are phenomenal gangbusters, it’s been hard,” Weaver explained. “Usually when we have hundreds of items coming in, [this time] we have a couple, literally a couple. We had eight turkeys come in last week out of when we usually have a few hundred. We’re still needing approximately 1,700 turkeys, although I think that number is going to be updated in the next day or so.”

Other organizations conducting food drives are also seeing lower than expected donations. Law enforcement agencies like the Alaska State Troopers (AST) are competing to raise the most food and funds for the Food Bank, but have collected lower than anticipated.

Capt. Eric Spitzer with the Alaska State Troopers remarked, “So far, AST is probably doing about a quarter as well as we expected we would. We have not seen the donations that historically we’ve had in the past, and we just want to encourage all of our troopers, all of the people in the community to come down and donate what you can so that people that are less fortunate can have a good Thanksgiving.”

Spitzer continued, “What I want to do is remind people that there are less fortunate people suffering right now and struggling financially in our community, and there’s no reason why people should be going hungry.”

According to Spitzer, competition aside, helping those who are struggling is the priority.

“We’re having a friendly competition between law enforcement agencies in the area here,” Spitzer commented. “I don’t care if you donate to the Alaska State Troopers, North Pole PD, Fairbanks PD, or one of the other ones. It doesn’t matter to me, but donate to someone. Pick your favorite agency or however you want to do it, or go directly to the Food Bank and donate to them there.”

There are specific items that the Food Bank is seeking to supply in a Thanksgiving dinner box to families in need according to Weaver.

“The items we’re lowest on right now are things like turkeys, canned yams, canned cranberries, and frozen pies,” Weaver elaborated. “A lot of bread bags are going out, people are making homemade bread, so we’re waiting for those to roll back in. But, basically if you watch our Facebook page, we’re going to keep having those updates coming in.”

Despite it all, the Food Bank is optimistic that they will be able to feed their projected target goal, even if the meals provided aren’t a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

“It’s hard right now, but here’s the really good news, our plan is to provide something for the folks who are struggling on Thanksgiving and over the holidays,” Weaver remarked, “and we will be able to do that. We’re shooting for 2,500 households because that’s our best guess, and we will be able to do that. Is it going to look like a Thanksgiving box? We’re not sure, but that has everything to do with the supply chain. This community is stepping up, but we’re really behind on our typical numbers right now - but we know it’s going to happen. We live in an amazing place with a supportive community.”

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