For Wendy Webb and the volunteers at F.O.R. Maricopa Food Bank, shopping for 300 turkeys to give away before Thanksgiving is no easy task.
“I had to shop all over,” said Webb, the pantry’s founder and executive director of 16 years. “I drove all over Phoenix, Tempe and Chandler — wherever I could buy them. Some places I can only buy one, some places I can buy six.”
At one time, she recalled hauling 40 turkeys back to Maricopa in her SUV.
“All I can say is don’t put the brakes on too quickly,” she quipped.
F.O.R. Maricopa Food Bank plans the turkey giveaway, including fixings, from noon until 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, while supplies last. The food bank is based in the Blue Business Building, 19428 N. Maricopa Rd. where the turkey giveaway takes place.
Despite the time-consuming turkey hunt, Webb and volunteers manage to buy enough each year to hand to the many needy families and others coming through the food bank’s drive through line.
The holidays are the “chaos season” as the food bank’s busiest time of year, Webb said.
During the rest of the year, F.O.R. Maricopa serves boxes of food to about 450 families a week, she said. The average family is four or five people.
Regular weekly hours for food distribution are 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Monday and 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
The food bank also gives Christmas gifts — from video games to Barbie dolls — to about 1,000 needy children.
“Some of them just want gloves and a jacket, so we also try to get a gift in there somewhere,” Webb said.
As Maricopa has grown, so has its needy population, Webb said.
“We don’t have a huge homeless problem here, but we have a lot families that are living with families.”
Existing clients are asked to bring their food bank cards and picture identification. New clients are asked to bring a picture ID, proof of address, a utility bill, ID with address or rental agreement.
Volunteer shifts are available.