10 Ways To Get a Free Turkey For Thanksgiving

Christmas baked chicken with cranberries, orange, spices and herbs. Christmas food concept. stock photo
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As inflation, avian flu and supply chain issues are driving turkey prices higher than they have been in the past five years, some people are seeking alternatives to a turkey with all the trimmings and looking to serve everything from roast beef to pizza. But you don’t have to sacrifice what is a once-a-year indulgence for many people if you know where to look to find a free bird.

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Use Cashback Apps

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

Ibotta is offering a 100% cash back offer on eligible Thanksgiving foods, including a Butterball turkey and popular sides. You can redeem the offer at a variety of stores, or when you schedule grocery delivery or pick-up.

Make Your Money Work for You

Redeeming the offer is easy. First, use the Ibotta App, website, or browser extension to redeem enough offers to unlock the Butterball Turkey offer. Add the Butterball Turkey offer to your list. When you purchase your turkey, scan the receive or link your online grocery account. Representatives from Ibotta said that the number of redemptions needed to unlock each bonus will vary from user-to-user.

Trade In Credit Card Rewards

If you’ve already started your holiday shopping and accrued credit card rewards, or if you have rewards sitting in your account, you can trade them in for a gift card to a grocery store, Walmart, Target or even Amazon, since Amazon Fresh has Butterball frozen turkeys in stock. It’s a great way to reduce costs this holiday season with cash back you’ve collected over the year.

Collect Supermarket Rewards

Many grocery stores, including Weis Market, Foodtown, ShopRite, Acme Markets, Giant and Hy-Vee are offering free turkeys as part of their rewards program. You’ll need to spend anywhere from $250 to $400 using the store’s respective loyalty card to accrue enough points to claim your turkey.

Check with Your Local Food Pantry

Local food pantries often receive turkey donations this time of year. You may want to reach out now to let your local pantry know you are in need, rather than chancing it by waiting until the last minute. To find a food pantry near you, visit FeedingAmerica.org and enter your zip code.

Make Your Money Work for You

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 seek to help community members in need. It doesn’t hurt to ask if they are doing any food drives or will be able to help you out with a turkey. If they can’t, they might be able to point you in the right direction.

Call United Way 211

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

Check with Your School District

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

Make Your Money Work for You

Ask in Facebook Buy Nothing or Community-focused Groups  

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

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

Meals on Wheels

Meals on wheels delivers hot meals to seniors in need, including turkey dinners on Thanksgiving Day. The service is available to adults over 60 who demonstrate a need. You’ll need to qualify through an application process and an assessment, and there may be a waitlist for approval. So, if you think you may qualify, visit MealsonWheelsAmerica.org to begin the process before the holiday.

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Go Turkey Hunting

Most free turkeys you’ll receive from the above sources are of the frozen variety. But if you like the taste of fresh turkey, which is currently retailing for $6.70 per pound, it may be more cost-effective to hunt wild turkey, yourself.

Keep in mind, there are additional fees associated with hunting, including the cost of a hunting license, a gun and ammo or a bow and arrow, and travel costs. You may also need to buy a separate permit specifically to hunt turkey. Of course, you’ll need to know how to field dress your turkey harvest, butcher it, and prepare it for cooking. In short, hunting wild turkey for your Thanksgiving table is decidedly not free, but if you enjoy hunting as a hobby, you may as well enjoy the quality fresh poultry that came from your hard work and upfront investment.  

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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