FARMINGTON — The Care and Share Food Closet is facing two major challenges, besides bare shelves.

One is the loss of Federal Emergency Management Agency funding that helps purchase food. The other is finding turkeys to fill the nearly 300 holiday baskets given out each year, Carolyn McLaughlin, food closet co-chairwoman, said.

While the food closet depends on purchasing goods from the Good Shepherd Food-Bank in Auburn, it won’t be able to purchase turkeys there this year. The food bank is not ordering turkeys but will help supply the fixings for the baskets and a Hannaford gift card for turkeys, Christine Force, vice president of fund development at Good Shepherd, said.

When the food bank orders 10,000 turkeys, it’s done early when the cost is up, she said. The price tends to go down as the holiday approaches. It’s also a lot of frozen turkeys to deal with and distribute.

The price was also up when McLaughlin checked at the local Save-a-Lot. Last year, the food closet paid 79 cents a pound for turkeys. Now the price is $1.29 a pound. That’s about $4,000 for the nearly 300, 10- to 12-pound birds needed, she said.

The food closet board decided they needed to go to the churches and the community for help, McLaughlin said. Church members will be asked to purchase a turkey.

For more than 25 years, the food closet has operated under the combined churches of the Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministry. Churches have representation on the board.

Before the food closet, the churches put baskets together for area families.

The food closet receives federal commodities three times a year. The next one is expected in November. The last one provided a surplus of chicken that ran out in July, McLaughlin said.

The closet also has to buy items such as spaghetti, tuna fish and baked beans, which are not included in commodity foods.

Anyone who would like to purchase a turkey for the holiday is asked to contact McLaughlin at 645-2312 by Oct. 15.

Food donations to Care and Share Food Closet can be taken to the site at the Fairbanks Meeting House from noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Monetary donations may be mailed to Mary O’Donal, 102 Barlen St., Farmington, ME 04938.

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