10 Ways to Get a Free Turkey For Thanksgiving

Organic Homemade Smoked Turkey Dinner for Thanksgiving with Sides.

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With inflation, avian flu and supply chain issues pushing turkey prices higher than they have been in the past five years, some people are looking for alternatives to turkey with all the trimmings and serving everything from roast beef to pizza. If you know where to look to find a free bird, you won’t have to sacrifice a once-a-year luxury for many.

See: As Inflation Drives Up Turkey Prices, Here Are 6 Alternatives to Serving for Thanksgiving
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Use cashback apps

Cashback apps like Ibotta are a great way to save money all year long. But they can also help stretch your holiday budget.

Ibotta is offering 100% cash back on eligible Thanksgiving foods — including a frozen whole turkey — when you shop at Walmart. Claiming the offer is easy. First, add eligible offers to your Ibotta account. Then, buy any of 10 popular Thanksgiving items at Walmart and get 100% cash back on everything. According to CNBC.com, the total value of the offer is $26.99, and the items come together to feed a family of five.

Trade in credit card rewards

If you’ve already started your holiday shopping and earned credit card rewards or have rewards in your account, you can trade them in as a gift card at a grocery store, Walmart, Target, or Amazon because Amazon Fresh is available. Butterball has frozen turkeys in stock. It’s a great way to cut costs this holiday season with the cash back you’ve accumulated over the year.

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Collect supermarket rewards

Many grocery stores such as Weis Market, Foodtown, ShopRite, Acme Markets, Giant and Hy-Vee offer free turkeys as part of their rewards program. You’ll need to spend anywhere from $250 to $400 using a store-related loyalty card to earn enough points to claim your turkey.

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Check with your local food pantry

Local food pantries often receive turkey donations this time of year. Instead of waiting until the last minute, you can contact your local pantry now to let them know you need it. To find a food pantry near you, visit FeedingAmerica.org and enter your zip code.

Reach out to local churches or other religious organizations

Even if your local church or religious organization doesn’t operate a food pantry, these organizations often try to help community members in need. It doesn’t hurt to ask if they do any food drives or if they can help you with the turkey. If they can’t, they can point you in the right direction.

Call United Way 211

United Way is another organization that helps connect those in need with places that offer help. Call 211 or visit 211.org to find resources to help you and your family throughout the holiday season, including places to find a free turkey for Thanksgiving.

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Check with your school district

Counselors and social workers in school districts often step into community organizations that help families in need. Your local school may even organize its own food drive to help people in the district. You can find the phone number for your district’s social worker on your school district’s website. If you have children in school, start with their school first.

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Don’t buy anything on Facebook or ask in community-focused groups

According to InfluencerMarketingHub.com, Facebook is made up of more than 10 million groups focused on different topics with a total of more than 1.8 billion members. There are many groups that focus on community support, and there are many groups that focus on buying, selling, or trading goods within the community.

If you need to this holiday season, post in these groups. A member may have an extra turkey willing to donate. Some people, including Costco workers, get free turkeys from their job. However, they may not need it if they are traveling or not hosting Thanksgiving. Other people get multiple free turkeys through supermarket rewards and are happy to share their wealth.

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Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels provides hot meals to seniors in need, including turkey dinners on Thanksgiving. This service is available to adults over 60 who demonstrate need. You must qualify through an application process and evaluation and may be waitlisted for approval. So if you think you might qualify, visit MealsonWheelsAmerica.org to start the process before the holidays.

Go turkey hunting

Most of the free range turkeys you receive from the above sources are of the frozen variety. If you prefer the taste of fresh turkey, currently retailing for $6.70 per pound, it’s more cost-effective to hunt a wild turkey yourself.

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Remember, there are additional fees associated with hunting, including a hunting license, gun and ammo or bow and arrow, and travel expenses. You also need to purchase a special permit specifically for turkey hunting. However, you need to know how to field dress your turkey crop, butcher it and prepare it for cooking. In short, hunting a wild turkey for your Thanksgiving table isn’t exactly free, but if you enjoy hunting as a hobby, you can also enjoy the quality fresh poultry that comes with your hard work and upfront investment.

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