New London — Today, there are 972 families in the region who might not have a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.
The 96 agencies that receive food from the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center to distribute to their clients have asked for 2,310 turkeys, 500 more birds than last year.
But donations are down this year and some groups that traditionally support the center have not held the food drives and fundraisers that help restock pantry shelves, according to Kelly Horton, vice president of the food center.
"A lot of people have been affected by the economy, and then we had the hurricane situation,'' she said.
After the Oct. 29 hurricane, Gemma Moran collected more than 3,000 pounds of food and water and 1,300 pounds of blankets, as well as hand sanitizer and other items for hurricane victims, Horton said. Those living in Stonington and East Lyme were among those helped after the storm.
"We've been focusing on emergency donations in last few weeks,'' she said.
But some groups have come through. Horton said a group of insurance agencies — Fountain Timmons, Tri Town Timmons and Prudential Realty — held a food drive and collected 6,400 pounds of food and raised nearly $9,000. And 97.7 WCTY collected $8,000 and more than 37,000 pounds of food.
But she has not heard from other groups that usually make holiday contributions.
"There's probably a lot going on,'' she said.
Last November, the food center distributed 1,800 turkeys, with all the fixings. This year, turkeys will be distributed to member agencies on Friday.