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Turkey Drive 2018: Where do turkey drive donations go?

Turkey Drive 2018: Where do turkey drive donations go?
Turkey Drive 2018: Where do turkey drive donations go?
Posted at 4:52 PM, Nov 14, 2018
and last updated 2019-11-05 09:14:48-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - We are one day away and Thursday is the WTXL Turkey Drive. We are collecting frozen turkeys and monetary donations all day long at Ponce De Leon Park in Downtown Tallahassee. 

It feels great to give and help others less fortunate on this Thanksgiving holiday, but do you ever wonder exactly where or to whom your donations go? 

Thanksgiving for most families is a time to give thanks and enjoy a meal with loved ones. But not everyone has that luxury.

That's why WTXL is partnering with Second Harvest for their 5th Annual Turkey Drive to raise money and collect frozen turkeys so everyone, in need, can eat this Thanksgiving. 

But when it comes to your donation, whether it's monetary or a turkey, how does that translate into dinner? How is everything dispersed and who is actually getting what?

An especially pressing question in the wake of Hurricane Michael. 

"This year is as important as ever, some families may not even have a table to sit around due to Hurricane Michael," said Mary Dekle, Director of Philanthropy for Second Harvest of the Big Bend. 

She said the donation distribution process is streamlined and efficient and starts the day after the turkey drive.

They distribute the turkeys equally among their partner agencies, depending on the capacity, divide up the turkeys, and send them to their partner agencies. 

"Second Harvest has over 135 in 11 counties. They may be a soup kitchen or feeding site like Grace Mission or a church that has soup or a food pantry," said Dekle. "There are many in our community who need the food." 

Ginger Cooksey, Coordinator at the Crawfordville United Methodist Church Food Pantry, knows first-hand how important donations from the Turkey Drive are to those who rely on them at the food pantry.

Last year they got over 160 turkeys from Second Harvest and were able to give 160 families turkeys and dinners.  

"It's just a great thing. The families have gotten to the point that they know we are going to have frozen turkeys. And so it's a great thing," said Cooksey. "We do it the Thursday before Thanksgiving and there's a line going around the parking lot and we get together and give people Thanksgiving dinner." 

They had so much frozen turkey last year they were able to give some away for Christmas as well. 

Last year the turkey drive raised over $22,000 and collected 358 turkeys. This year they hope to collect 380 turkeys and raise over $25,000. That will provide over 100,000 meals. 

"Leon County is the third hungriest county in our state. It is hiding in plain site," said Dekle. "There are many people who don't have the luxury of having a turkey on their table for Thanksgiving, so let's give them a little bit of normalcy this year." 

If someone needs a meal or frozen turkey this Thanksgiving, they can go online to Fightinghunger.org. 

"Depending on where you live you can find out the partner agencies that they work with," said Dekle. "And they have what there distribution dates and contact information. You can contact them directly." 

If you can't get online call 211 for more information.

Whether it's a monetary donation or a frozen turkey, you can be assured that all of what is raised will be given to those who will be grateful because of you for a Happy Thanksgiving.