The bird flu earlier this year killed off millions of turkeys and some groups are feeling the shortage heading into Thanksgiving. Metro lawyers who give away free turkeys over the holidays said they are having trouble filling their orders.
For six years, Lawyers Fighting Hunger has been giving away 5,000 free turkeys to families in need before Thanksgiving. This year has been the hardest to carry out.
“I wasn't even aware until I tried to place my turkey order that there had been this avian bird flu and that they had killed millions and millions of turkeys to prevent the spread,” said Noble McIntyre of McIntyre Law in Oklahoma City.
Organizer Noble McIntyre said his team has been scrambling to make sure they have enough this year.
“We started eight weeks ago trying to find the turkeys that we needed and it has been a push,” McIntyre said. “In previous years, we could make a turkey order the week before,” he added.
The problem is avian bird flu wiped out about 9 million turkeys this past spring. With the shortage, came higher prices.
McIntyre said he is paying much more this year for the same amount of turkeys as last year.
“We're talking about trying to find 5,000 turkeys at a time when turkeys are rare,” McIntyre told News 9.
Grocers said the shortage probably will not affect your next grocery trip. Big retailers pre-order several months in advance and have more buying power than individuals.
Crest Foods said they have plenty of turkeys for Thanksgiving shoppers. However, fresh turkey products, like lunch meat, are more expensive.
McIntyre is relieved his team managed to track down enough.
“They're harder to get, they're more expensive, it's been a challenge, but it's going to turn out to be a good event, thankfully, but it hasn't been easy,” he said.
Sandwich shops and restaurants are also feeling the shortage. Many have posted warnings they are now using chicken as a replacement in turkey dishes.
Here are the dates for Lawyers Fighting Hunger's turkey giveaways:
November 19th in Oklahoma City - McIntyre Law Offices, located at 8601 S. Western Ave., Oklahoma City, beginning at 10 a.m. and continuing until all turkeys are distributed.
November 20th in Norman - Bernstein Law Office, located at 104 W. Gray Street, Norman, beginning 11 a.m. and continuing until all turkeys are distributed.
November 20th in El Reno – El Reno Elks’ Lodge, located at 415 S. Rock Island Ave, El Reno, beginning 10 a.m. and continuing until all turkeys are distributed.
November 21st in Tulsa – Iron Gate Ministries, 501 South Cincinnati Avenue, Tulsa, beginning at 11 a.m. Turkeys and groceries to all those who have pre-registered.
November 23th in Mustang – Mustang Fire Department, located at 470 West Highway 152, Mustang, beginning 11 a.m. and continuing until all turkeys are distributed.