Staff Report

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is asking community members to donate 4,000 fresh or frozen turkeys and chickens to provide healthy holiday meals to local families who cannot afford them. The target number reflects a dramatic increase in need throughout the county. The 2020 Turkey Drive runs from October 26 through the holiday season. 

Community members may drop off turkeys or chickens at the Foodbank’s warehouses Monday through Friday in Santa Barbara at 4554 Hollister Ave from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and in Santa Maria at 490 W. Foster Road from 7:15 a.m. to 3 p.m.

American General Media, whose family of radio stations includes The Beat 95.7FM, La Ley 100.3FM, Sunny Country 102.5FM, Pirate Radio 104.1FM and News Talk 1240AM, will host a drive-thru dropoff on Wednesday, Nov. 18. On that day, community members may swing by Toyota of Santa Maria at 700 E. Betteravia Rd. from 7 a.m. to 6.p.m. to donate birds without ever leaving their vehicles. 

Birds must be dropped off by Nov. 23 to ensure delivery to families in time for Thanksgiving, but the Foodbank will accept donations through Dec. 11 for other holiday meals. 

“The Foodbank needs small turkeys and chickens to ensure everyone in our county can have a wholesome holiday dinner,” explained Paul Wilkins, Foodbank Chief Operations Officer. “With shortages expected for food banks across the country in the last quarter of the year, and when our community is facing rampant job losses and economic crisis, the need is higher than ever this year.”

In lieu of dropping off fresh or frozen birds, community members may sponsor holiday meals online by visiting to donate.

More than 3,500 turkeys and chickens collected during the 2019 Turkey Drive were provided to members of the community via Foodbank Mobile Food Pantries, along with church and community agency partners, in Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Goleta, Isla Vista, Lompoc, Buellton, Vandenberg, Orcutt, Santa Maria, Guadalupe and Cuyama. Many of the Foodbanks’ residential program partners used the birds to prepare and provide healthy Thanksgiving meals to those they serve.

This year, the Foodbank expects to distribute turkeys and chickens to community members through its network of certified SAFE Food Net locations that have been established to provide contactless, safe places to receive food during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Foodbank provided 12.5 million pounds of healthy groceries to residents of Santa Barbara County last year. Half of that was fresh produce. 

The Foodbank provided food to more than 240,000 people (unduplicated) in our county in last year. Forty-one percent (41%) of those served by the Foodbank are children, which amounts to more than 83,000 children. 

Community members or local businesses who would like to host a turkey drive may call (805) 319-9096  or email