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Are you ready for Thanksgiving? Specifically, have you done your holiday dinner shopping?

Even if you have shopped, and are fully prepared for next Thursday, we have several valid reasons why you may want to go back to the store, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

First, a brief look at local poultry prices. Holiday meals are not like going to the nearest fast-food emporium and getting a quick-meal deal for less than $3. A good-sized frozen turkey is going to set you back a few bucks, going from $25 to $50 for birds in the 16-20-pound range. It all depends on where you shop. In fact, we snooped around a little, and there are deals to be had.

That’s a good thing, because even if you've already secured your turkey, an excellent reason to spring for another one is that the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is running short on its goal to gather 3,000 or more turkeys and chickens to distribute to needy families. Today is the Thanksgiving deadline, so you’d best hustle.

We refer to “needy families” but what this actually is all about is general food insecurity. It may seem like an outlandish concept in this nation of plenty, but the sad fact is that just more than 21 percent of residents in Santa Barbara County admit to having experienced insecurity about getting enough food to eat over the past 12 months, as reported on the cottagehealth.org website.

Our nation-of-plenty comment earlier is spot-on. California has the world’s fifth-largest economy — but also has the highest rate of child poverty in the nation. Poverty generally equates to hunger, because poor families have to make spending choices most of us never have to make.

And sadly, the greatest percentage of hungry kids in this state is right here in beautiful, lush and glamorous Santa Barbara County. At last count, the number of impoverished children is nearly 30,000. That number has been rising steadily for nearly 10 years.

Have we made a strong-enough case for you to make that second run to the supermarket or big-box store to buy an extra turkey or chicken — or two?

If so, folks at the Foodbank have extended the hours for drop-off today. For you convenience, the Foodbank’s extended hours mean you can deliver your donations at 490 Foster Road from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.

That will cover Thanksgiving, but before you get back to your routine, start thinking about donating again for the Christmas holiday, and the turkey/food drive remains in play until the middle of December.

Here’s what happens to the food you donate: The Foodbank has partnered with more than 300 organizations countywide to distribute poultry and other food to their clients. They do this every holiday season, and they are real pros when it comes to making sure that folks who might not otherwise have a chance to celebrate the season can do so.

The Foodbank runs this well-oiled charitable machine year-round, distributing more than 10 million pounds of food annually. And about 70 percent of what the Foodbank collects and distributes goes to individuals and families living in North County communities.

If another shopping trip is out of the question for you, think about sponsoring a holiday meal by going to the Foodbank’s website — foodbanksbc.org/mealsponsor — to make your contribution.

Here’s the thing about donating to the Foodbank: Even if it takes a little extra time and work, the reward is fantastic.

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