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Turkey Prices Affecting Families, Food Giveaways

SCRANTON, Pa. -- A grocery store parking lot is one of the busiest places you'll find this week as folks prepare for their turkey dinner on Thursday.

The price of turkeys has gone up for this holiday, and we talked to people in the grocery business about how it's affecting dinners for just a few people or a few thousand.

If you're feeding a lot of people for Thanksgiving, that undertaking can get expensive. That's something Takima Armstead noticed as she picked up a few last-minute things in the meat aisle at Schiff's in Scranton.

"Food is going up, period," Armstead said. "The price of food is going up nowadays, but you know, you have to eat to live and live to eat, so how do you compromise that?"

Your turkey is likely going to cost you more this year, at Schiff's, about 10 cents more a pound.

It's not enough to keep the average family away from the Thanksgiving staple.

"On our side, the pricing will be the same, because we have the turkeys here. But if you're on the wholesale side and you're buying on the market, you'll definitely see a price increase on that side," said Schiff's Adam Reese.

The folks at Schiff's say the big difference lies inside their massive freezer warehouse for Schiff's Food Service in Taylor. There, Schiff's is preparing to thaw thousands of turkeys that will be given to families on Wednesday at the annual Family to Family food distribution in Scranton. The organization gives out about 3,000 turkeys.

Even though these were ordered back in July, the higher price is affecting Family to Family's bottom line, along with the dozens of other food giveaways Schiff's buys for.

"Now, when we're looking to do it for other organizations that are coming in later asking for bid prices and quantities, we've actually seen about a 45 percent increase in the price of a small bird versus where they were in July," said Ryan Yeager, Schiff's Food Service.

That increase can be huge for organizations that depend on donations.

"When you're talking about per family, it doesn't really sound like a whole lot, but when you're adding that many families up, it really does change the price. That's where we try and do the best we can. We're based on donations here and families supporting these other families. We try to get as much as we can for the money coming in," said Yeager.

A shortage of turkeys is what's driving the price increase this year.

Despite that, the folks at Schiff's say they always overbuy frozen turkeys for Thanksgiving. Anything they don't sell would then be available for the Christmas season.

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