Local food pantries are singing praise at this time of year for food gathering efforts being undertaken by organizations, churches and businesses.
"Oh yes, absolutely," Executive J.R. Russell of the Marion Ministerial Alliance said about the good that results from efforts like the Southern Illinois Boy Scout district collecting of about 100,000 items of food in 10 Southern Illinois counties Saturday.
"We'd be in a difficult situation without these efforts.
"It's always a challenge and especially now with an increase in demand," Russell said, noting in an earlier interview that the pantry's joint soup kitchen serves up to 100 meals every weekday.
Director Jack Cunneen of Murphysboro Food Pantry said food drives are going on continuously throughout the year. But this time of year, extra effort is being put in by local companies such as Silkworm Inc., which recently hosted a fill-the-pickup food drive.
Likewise, Director Margie Parker of Carbondale Interfaith Council's Good Samaritan Food Pantry said the approaching holidays are a good time for the Samaritan food pantry.
"Our supply of donated food has been quite low in recent months," Parker said.
As the dry food flow comes in on a steady basis now, any free turkey distributions get gobbled up quickly.
Manager Jessica Kempfer of Bethany Village Food Pantry in Anna reported 67 free turkeys from Bethany Village and National Wild Turkey Federation were distributed Wednesday in a 43-minute span.
She commended a local church for its weekly bread donation and the area Sav-A-Lot store for its steady contributions throughout the year.
"We have a lot of families and churches that step forward now," Kempfer said, noting the food pantry distributes more than 200 food baskets monthly to families and individuals.
Turkeys can be sporadic commodities.
Cunneen said a year ago, the St. Louis Area Food Bank arrived in Murphysboro with truckloads of commodities including turkeys, but turkeys were absent this year. The food pantry assists about 600 families monthly.
Parker said Good Samaritan can't supply turkeys now, but tries to include the poultry item for larger families when they get a Christmas Box next month full of a week's supply of food, and toys and books for children.
Good Samaritan assists an average of 312 families monthly with food commodities.