Toys with a turkey: Salvation Army asking for 2,400 birds

Toys with a turkey: Salvation Army asking for 2,400 birds
Salvation Army asking for 2,400 turkeys for Thanksgiving (Source: KOLD)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Every year around the holidays, the Salvation Army Hospitality House in Tucson asks for food donations. This year, volunteers are hoping for even more and it comes at a time when the Assistant Program Manager, Bill Finch, says they are already low on turkeys.

“We have 100 right now so we are a little shy of our goal,” he said. “There is a turkey shortage, but we know that our prayers will be answered.”

Finch says they need about 500 turkeys for the Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts. Also, for the first time, volunteers are asking for an extra 2,000 frozen birds. The goal is to send a turkey home with each family participating in the toy giveaway.

“This is the biggest [ask] we have taken on,” said Finch. “If [parents] can’t get a toy [for their children], they probably can’t get the food too. We give them food boxes, but people asked us last year ‘Do you have a turkey?’ We got together and said, ‘Why can't we ask for turkeys and give a turkey away too?’”

“A little bit goes a long way and one turkey for one family … that can probably serve a family for two days,” said Amy Merchain, a Client staying at the Salvation Army Hospitality House.

Merchain knows all about making resources stretch. She says there have been many times when wondered where her next meal would come from.

“[This year has] been an emotional rollercoaster,” she said. “I try to be very independent and even asking for help was hard.”

Merchain says she fell onto tough times when her living situation changed in California. This summer, she moved to Tucson with her mother, searching for a brighter future for her family. The local Salvation Army has been helping her find full-time employment and affordable housing.

“I really appreciate it,” said Merchain. “Being a single mom who takes care of my mother who is disabled, the chance of getting some kind of help with anything is a blessing.”

The biggest blessing of all, though, is the chance for Merchain to be reunited with her children who are staying with relatives in California until she gets established.

“I haven’t seen my children in about two months,” she said, “and this might be the first time I will be able to have both of my children with me at the same time, not just over the phone.”

It’s what the Holiday spirit is all about; spending time with family and carrying on traditions.

“We make our own cookies and decorate them,” said Merchain. “We do one tradition also where the kids get to open one present on Christmas Eve. It’s the brightness I can bring to their face for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I know not worrying about [coming up with a holiday meal] really helps someone like me.”

If you want to help families out this season, you can drop off frozen turkeys at the Salvation Army Hospitality House on Main, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Volunteers are also accepting frozen Ham and sides like potatoes, boxed stuffing and canned corn.

Copyright 2019 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.