Food bank short thousands of turkeys for needy families

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Without your help, thousands of families in the Mid-South may not have a turkey on their table this holiday season.

The Mid-South Food Bank is only halfway to its goal of 5,000 turkeys to distribute to area pantries.

Ninety-year-old Donald Gohman with the Lady of Sorrow St. Vincent DePaul food pantry has spent 50-plus years – more than half his life – serving others and battling poverty.

“It’s a war,” he said. “We’re on the battlefield. We get behind the front lines.”

His food pantry services the Frayser community, and he said the amount of people in need there is shocking and heartbreaking.

“We have a population of around 40,000. So, around 35,000 are within that level of poverty,” he said.

The Mid-South Food Bank is working to alleviate some of that responsibility with its goal of giving 5,000 turkeys to needy families. But so far, it is only halfway to achieving that goal.

“We’re well under 5,000, but we’re underneath 4,000, which is the most that we got last year,” Andrew Bell with the food bank said.

The food bank is asking people to donate turkeys or $15 towards buying one. Even though Thanksgiving is tomorrow, Bell wants donations to keep pouring in.

“We’ll still accept turkeys over the holidays, and we’ll get them to those families,” he said.

The food bank will then pass those turkeys along to pantries, like Gohman’s. Gohman said feeding those with so little, does something much bigger than filling empty stomachs – it fills empty hearts.

“I guess the most important thing is the personal contact. They have no one else really to talk to from the outside world,” he said.

To donate $15 for a turkey, go to

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