Local shelters, food banks in need of Thanksgiving turkeys

SEATTLE -- While some people use unemployment figures to judge the economy, others look at turkeys.

It's nearly that time of year when food banks put out their requests for donations. And, like canaries in coal mines, Thanksgiving turkeys can be good indicators of how many people are in need of a hot meal.

So far, thing aren't looking good.

"These here are the only two turkey we have in the freezer," said Terry Pallas of Seattle's Union Gospel Mission.

The mission needs 2,000 turkeys by next Wednesday to meet demand, and other food banks are experiencing similar shortages.

"People donating food have declined over the last year," Pallas said. "We are seeing a lot of the effects of the economy still being weighed down and our ability to provide services."

Pallas said perishables like day-old bread are still coming in, but in small numbers.

The mission's shelves are nearly empty and stuffing and potatoes are in short supply. Turkey shortages at shelters and food banks is nothing new, but what is different is that the number of people in need is going up.

"The demand has gone up, so there are more folks in need than in previous years (and) the resources that we have have diminished," Pallas said.

If you'd like to donate money specifically for turkeys, you can do so at the mission's website.