Street turkeys, no jive food drive

by Shannon Rae Gentry
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Lumina News file photo 

The Fourth Annual Street Turkeys of Wilmington will collect nonperishable food items for the local branch of the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina on Wednesday, Nov. 21, at The Landing and several Harris Teeter locations.

The Fourth Annual Street Turkeys of Wilmington will be collecting food on Wednesday, Nov. 21 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Landing, 530 Causeway Drive in Wrightsville Beach, or one of three Harris Teeter locations at Lumina Station, Long Leaf Mall and Oak Landing Shopping Center in Porters Neck.

Street Turkeys benefits the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina and is sponsored by the Wrightsville United Methodist Church Men’s Bible Study Group and Outreach Committee. Jai Isear, the event coordinator, first heard of the Street Turkeys while living in Charlotte when a local radio host called for holiday donations. “Mark Packer was a sports commentator and went on the radio and asked people to bring in canned food,” Isear said. “And it turned into this huge event.”

Inspired by the Charlotte drive’s success, Isear wanted to start one when he moved to Wilmington. 

“We felt like this was something we could bring to Wilmington and did some research and it’s just overwhelming,” he said. “In this four-county region there are 20,000 children that don’t know where their next meal is coming from. That’s disturbing and something I think we could contribute to lessening.”

Last year’s event collected 9,500 pounds of food and $9,000 in donations of which 100 percent went to the local food bank. Isear said in all it helped provide 46,200 low-cost meals to people in New Hanover, Pender, Columbus and Brunswick counties.

Isear also said that each year the community’s generosity never fails, but stressed the importance of appropriate food and product donations. 

“One misunderstanding is that some people bring prepared meals … which is obviously extremely thoughtful, time-consuming and from the heart,” he said. “But the mission here is to get large volumes of items that can be stored and distributed to the [food bank] agencies when they need them.”

Most-needed items include non-perishable and frozen foods, such as frozen turkeys and hams, canned stews, soups, tuna, ravioli, peanut butter, cereal, canned fruits and vegetables, rice, pasta, dry beans, as well as baby products like infant formula, diapers and wipes. No glass items accepted.

Monetary contributions are tax-deductible and Isear said that just $1 could provide up to five meals. 

“I know money’s tight this time of year, but it is amazing how they can stretch a dollar.”

Anyone unable to attend the Street Turkey event may donate to the Virtual Food Drive online via the link at

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