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Tulsa Mission 3,000 Turkeys Short Of Thanksgiving Need

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It's getting down to the wire, with Thanksgiving less than a week away, and John 3:16 Mission wants to fill up a whole truck. It's getting down to the wire, with Thanksgiving less than a week away, and John 3:16 Mission wants to fill up a whole truck.
Right now, there are about 1,700 turkeys in the truck, and still that's 3,000 short of their need. Right now, there are about 1,700 turkeys in the truck, and still that's 3,000 short of their need.
Normally, by this point in the season, Reverend Steve Whitaker says they'd have as many as 4,000 turkeys. Normally, by this point in the season, Reverend Steve Whitaker says they'd have as many as 4,000 turkeys.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

A Thanksgiving Tradition, years in the making, is looking bleak this year.

John 3:16 Mission has been handing out Thanksgiving baskets to needy families for more than a decade.

It's getting down to the wire, with Thanksgiving less than a week away, and John 3:16 Mission wants to fill up a whole truck. Right now, there are about 1,700 turkeys in the truck, and still that's 3,000 short of their need.

The donations are coming in to John 3:16 Mission, just not fast enough.

Normally, by this point in the season, Reverend Steve Whitaker says they'd have as many as 4,000 turkeys.

But this year is different.

"Never. Never seen it like this before," Whitaker said.

For 14 years, the mission has filled Thanksgiving baskets for families who just can't afford to pay for a holiday feast.

11/21/2011 Related Story: Tulsa Organization Helping Families Have A Happy Thanksgiving

Whitaker says the need in 2012 is greater than ever before.

"We anticipate the lines to be longer this year than they've ever been. They'll wrap all the way around this big, long block that the family youth center sits on," Whitaker said.

The mission's plan is to hand out about 5,000 turkeys between Monday and Wednesday, but if more donations don't start rolling in soon, it'll have no other choice but to turn those needy families away.

"I would think that we as a community would take that personally, as well, that we're not able to take care of our own," Whitaker said.

The mission isn't asking just for turkeys, though. It's also in need of things like corn, greens beans and stuffing, donations that would complete a Thanksgiving dinner.

"I've had people tell me this year they're gonna have peanut butter and crackers," Whitaker said. "Not if I can help it. They're gonna get a Thanksgiving dinner."

Despite the shortage, there are still plenty of Tulsans with giving hands this holiday season.

"They were short this year and we thought, ‘Well, why not?' So, we just decided to go out and buy a bunch of turkeys to bring over," said Tulsa resident, Ron.

And if more donors like that come along, Whitaker said he is certain his mission to fill the stomachs of thousands this Thanksgiving will be a success.

If you'd like to drop off one or more turkeys, you can do so at one of two locations: 2027 North MLK Boulevard or 506 North Cheyenne.

You can also drop off turkeys at any Under the Sun Garden Center. If you do that, they'll match each of your donations.

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