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Local organization struggling with turkey donations for this years community Thanksgiving meal

Posted at 11:48 PM, Nov 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-14 02:48:23-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Supply chain issues are affecting many products on store shelves around the country, and this year it's better to grab your Thanksgiving favorites as soon as possible because your holiday meal could be affected.

A Cuyama rancher says his turkey sales are up this year while another local organization says they are struggling to get enough food for their community Thanksgiving traditions.

“We normally cook about 60 turkeys and that would get us through the thanksgiving meal and it would also leave us extra turkeys to make other meals out of," LaVonne Jarrow said.

But that could look different this year. The Mission at Kern County is seeing a decrease in food donations for this years Thanksgiving meal, especially turkeys.

“I’ve seen the other menu items that we’re having on our menu come in but for some reason we have not seen the turkeys start coming in and we really need those turkeys," Jarrow said.

This year the mission expects to feed more than 500 people for Thanksgiving, but so far only has two turkeys to do so. Kitchen supervisor, LaVonne Jarrow says usually the community brings in donations weeks before the holiday.

“I just hear people mention that it might be a turkey shortage going on but I have seen turkeys in the stores, so I don’t really know what’s going on and why it’s slow this year," Jarrow said.

Meanwhile, at SZ Ranch, turkey sales are up.

“This year we were at our highest number at 700 turkeys," Steve Zaritsky said.
“Wow, and you still sold out early?"
“And we still sold out, yes," Steve Zaritsky said.

The ranch harvests fresh, organic fed birds. Owner Steve Zaritsky says he is seeing more people trying to get away from buying the frozen turkeys you find at your local grocery store and start buying fresh and local. However, he was interested in the supply at his local grocery store in Taft.

“I asked the guy who was stocking I said I thought there was a shortage and he says well not right now but if people come next week we’re not going to have anymore available because we brought in all the turkeys, the last load this week so if you get out there this weekend you shouldn’t have any problem whatsoever unless people just want to run to the stores and clean them out which we’ve see a lot of that in the last year and a half or so," Steve Zaritsky said.

Jarrow says she is well stocked with Thanksgiving sides but is missing the most important part.

“If thanksgiving comes and we don’t have enough turkeys then I'll just have to whip up something else," Jarrow said.

The Mission at Kern County's Thanksgiving meal will be served from 11am to 1pm on Thanksgiving day. If you are interested in donating food or volunteering, you can go online to brm.org to fill out an application or call (661) 325-0863.