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Where Do You Get 9,000 Turkeys?

With 10 days until Thanksgiving, the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County is facing an unprecedented need for Thanksgiving turkeys and has announced an emergency community countdown challenge to close the gap.

, the only food bank that serves our area, is facing unprecedented need this holiday season. They currently have 10,000 requests for turkeys from local agencies and non-profits in Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, and Wilton. As of last week, the Food Bank’s freezer was stocked with only 1,000.

"We're asking everyone to come to the rescue of their community," Kate Lombardo, executive director of the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County, said. "[Our stock] is the lowest I think we've ever seen it."

The Food Bank announced an emergency community challenge yesterday at . NAGI is encouraging other local businesses to step up to help the Food Bank close this gap and is donating 310 turkeys in honor of their 31 years in business. Their goal for an in-store food drive quickly grew as they heard about the need of the Food Bank.

“My goal is 1,000 turkeys,” Nagi Osta said. “We'll do it. This is so important, it's about giving back and we have to give as much as we can. We're collecting whatever people can give and we're going to continue through the end of the year."

Heightened need, poor economic times, and the recent storms have created a veritable perfect storm of need at the Food Bank.

“We’re getting more calls from people who, for the first time, don’t know where to turn,” Lombardo said. “The need continues to grow and month after month, we have about 20 percent less food than we’re giving out. Like a farmer has a silo to draw from, our silo is empty.”

The August and October storms have also impacted the Food Bank — many in our communities had to throw away food twice following back-to-back prolonged power outages.

“Not only do they have to replace their own food supplies, now we’re asking them to help out their neighbor,” Lombardo said.

NAGI Jewelers launched their food drive this week and will be collecting turkeys, cash donations, and food bank staples at their store at 828 High Ridge Rd. not only for the next 10 days, but through the end of the year. Everyone who makes a donation will be entered to win a special holiday prize from the jewelry shop.

“I will get you 999 more,” Osta said with a smile as he handed Lombardo the first of the donated turkeys.

“If anyone can do it, he can do it,” Lombardo said.

In addition to turkeys, the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County is also requesting roaster chickens, canned tuna or chicken, soups, rice, grape jelly, peanut butter, powdered milk, breakfast cereals, juice, pasta, jarred spaghetti sauce, canned vegetables, dried beans, fruit cocktail, mashed potatoes, and macaroni & cheese.

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