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Foster Farms donates thousands of turkeys for Thanksgiving
foster farms pic
Thanksgiving turkey donations are just one way Foster Farms helps local food banks. In June, members of Second Baptist Church in Modesto worked together to pass out bags of food provided by Foster Farms and Second Harvest Food Bank to those in need. - photo by Journal file photo

As Thanksgiving approaches Foster Farms is taking steps to ensure that more families will enjoy the holiday by gathering around the table for a turkey dinner, by donating to food banks up and down the West Coast.

Foster Farms has donated more than 81,000 pounds of turkey to six West Coast food banks, including the Second Harvest Food Bank of San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties. The turkeys will be distributed to local communities and families in California, Oregon and Washington to help feed needy families this Thanksgiving. 

Each food bank received 750 turkeys, or 13,500 pounds of turkey.  Collectively, Foster Farms’ Thanksgiving donations will help feed up to 84,000 people this holiday. According to a 2014 modern day dinner survey of 2,000 West Coast consumers commissioned by Foster Farms, more than one-third of families are unaware that 49 million Americans — nearly 15 percent of American households — do not have enough to eat, what food assistance organizations term “food insecure.”

 “If Foster Farms’ donations encourage other companies and individuals to follow suit with donations of their own, we can reach even more families,” said Foster Farms Director of Communications Ira Brill. “You can’t put a value on an old-fashioned turkey dinner with family over the holidays. We are honored to play a part in helping families enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal this year.”

The Second Harvest Food Bank in San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties serves more than 135 organizations, including six in Turlock, in seven counties in the area. Second Harvest acquires and stores food through donations and through purchases and then allocates it out to partner agencies that distribute to individuals in need. Through the organization’s various programs, more than 35,000 individuals are helped with their food needs every month, with approximately 1 million pounds of food being donated each month.

The donations of the turkeys is just one aspect of how Foster Farms helps food banks on the West Coast. Through its “Pass the Plate” program, also in partnership with these same food banks, the company provided 7,500 people with more than 24,000 complete chicken dinners throughout the summer. Foster Farms also supports more than 750 Central Valley elementary students through the Food 4 Thought program where participating students spend eight hours of weekly after-school programs in exchange for a 15- to18-pound bag of groceries provided twice monthly. Since its start in 2009, the Foster Farms-sponsored Food 4 Thought program has provided 3,750 students and their families with over 1.1 million pounds of food.

“Foster Farms is a great partner and not just at Thanksgiving,” said Mike Mallory, Second Harvest’s executive director. “They are always giving back to the community and helping us year round.”

Second Harvest will collect and donate around 4,000 turkeys for Thanksgiving. The organization still needs about 500 to 600 more turkeys to fill the community needs.

“Foster Farms is usually the catalyst that gets us to the end,” Mallory said.