With high inflation, Thanksgiving dinners will cost more this year
The New York Farm Bureau says the price of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner is taking a double-digit price jump from last year's meal, and local charities are gearing up to feed thousands in need.
As Thanksgiving approaches, everyone feels the pinch of inflation. The Farm Bureau's Steve Ammerman says everything surveyed, including the traditional side dishes, went up across the board, except for cranberries.
"We weren't too surprised to see such an increased inflationary pressure that all consumers are dealing with," said Ammerman. "The Consumer Price Index has had food up about 12% over this year, so we expected a big increase. Overall, the classic items found on a holiday dinner table would cost New Yorkers around $66, it is about a 26% increase. But a bulk of that increase is from the increase in Turkey prices, which there are around $1.89 A pound according to our shoppers at 43 cents per pound over last year's average price in our survey.”
Ammerman says volunteer shoppers sampled prices at more than a dozen different supermarkets throughout the state between October 18th and 30th, trying to get the best prices available, working from a list of 15 staples ranging from turkey and rolls, to stuffing and celery, to pumpkin pie mix, enough to feed 10 people around the dinner table. Ammerman notes shoppers shouldn't have any difficulty finding turkeys in store.
"Look around at different stores and compare prices, as it gets closer to Thanksgiving stores will be dropping prices to try and lure more shoppers in," Ammerman said. "So I think that's one thing to be aware of. You know, there were concerns that there might not be turkey, enough turkey to go around this Thanksgiving. Overall turkey supply is down about 2%. Part of that is due to the avian influenza that hit some turkey farms in certain parts of the country. But overall, the supply is steady, and there will be turkeys in the grocery store, they're just going to be a little bit more expensive, in part because of the lower supply.”
Capital Region residents by the thousands have taken part in the annual Equinox Thanksgiving Day Community Dinner since 1969.
Equinox Senior Director of Administrative Services Christina Rajotte says meals will be delivered to seniors, people with disabilities, the homebound, unhoused, food insecure, just about anyone in any difficult circumstance.
“Equinox is very excited to be in its 53rd year of the annual Thanksgiving community dinner," said Rajotte. "This year, that dinner will repeat what we've done the past couple of years as we responded to COVID. So instead of gathering thousands of volunteers down at the Empire State Plaza, as we typically have, we decided to keep everyone safe. And we are working once again this year with various restaurant and catering partners to prepare the meals safely. And working with hundreds of volunteer drivers that will deliver the meals to the individuals that request them and do you know safe deliveries, contactless deliveries if need be.”
Rajotte says Equinox is taking calls now through its Thanksgiving hotline.
“People can call 518-434-0131, they will get most likely a voicemail," Rajotte said. "But don't worry, please leave a message, we will have our volunteers get back to you. They're extremely busy. So they, you know, have to catch up and make sure everyone that needs a meal will get one. We do request that meal requests are given by this Friday, November 18, which is tomorrow, just because we want to make sure that we have all the numbers to the restaurants as they begin to prep thousands of meals.”
Rajotte says Equinox served over 10,000 meals last Thanksgiving and plans to top 11,000 thus year.
For residents in need looking to prepare their own holiday feast, the third annual "Big Give Back" will be held Sunday from 1-3 at the Albany County Board of Elections building on South Pearl Street in Albany's South End. William "Tragedy" Yaeger says 1,000 frozen turkeys and 5,000 sides — five with each turkey — will be handed out.
"We're expecting at least 25 to 35 volunteers," Yaeger said. "We're packing the boxes ourselves this year. So it's going to be a different ordeal. So we'll be in the parking lot earlier. But we're not going to start giving the turkeys away until 1 o'clock. It's first come first serve."