Why some L.A. food banks are handing out Thanksgiving chickens this year
The food pantries are always full this time of year. From Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving.
More than 50 L.A. food pantries will be handing out turkeys on Thanksgiving Monday (Nov. 29), thanks in large part to the Humane Society of the United States.
AHS is partnering with the Humane Society of Ventura County, which has four L.A. facilities that accept food donations on Thanksgiving.
“It’s a huge deal, and it’s something that people really want to do,” says Karen Votaw, founder and executive director of the Ventura County Humane Society.
Votaw says she’s been surprised and elated at the outpouring of public support she’s received since the HSUS contacted her to ask if Ventura County would be willing to participate.
“We really felt that this is something important and that we could really make a difference,” says Votaw.
Each of her humane society employees receive a turkey to give to a food pantry or a homeless shelter by volunteering, donating food and monetary donations.
“I think part of the reason that this is so successful is that we really are offering a lot more than just turkeys,” says Votaw. “I think for those who don’t ordinarily volunteer, this is something that is meaningful because of what it does for the community and for the animals. It’s about more than just feeding people, and it’s about raising awareness.”
The Humane Society of Ventura County received 565 turkeys, of which it hand-distributed 365, before Thanksgiving.
For Karen Votaw, the Thanksgiving turkey is more than just symbolic.
“A lot of people don’t realize that there are hundreds or thousands of turkeys that are sent out into the wild every year,” says Votaw. “They just go out into the woods and there they sit and wait for their Christmas. It’s that simple. They’re just sitting out there, waiting to