The Gospel Rescue Mission is seeking donations to accommodate the expected crowd at its annual Thanksgiving meal on Wednesday.

A.E. Araiza / Arizona Daily Star

It’s not too late to add some philanthropy to your feast: Five days before Thanksgiving, Southern Arizona’s first Super Saturday Turkey Drive will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Organized by four local nonprofit organizations, the drive seeks to provide holiday meals for those in need by gathering as many frozen turkeys as possible at 14 Albertsons and Safeway stores in Tucson, Green Valley, Sahuarita and Willcox.

“We don’t really know what to expect since we have never done this before, but we are confident that people will respond favorably to the turkey drive,” said Victor Hightower, a spokesman for the Gospel Rescue Mission, which is coordinating the effort along with the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, the Salvation Army and Caring Ministries.

“This community is wonderful about responding to a real need; when it is crunch time and it gets down to the wire, the people of Tucson are great about helping each other out.”

Hightower said the Gospel Rescue Mission still needs at least 200 turkeys to help feed the needy during the holidays and that all of the organizations involved are hoping the convenience of donating on-site at grocery stores will provide a needed boost .

“We think it will be easy for shoppers who are doing their own holiday shopping to pick up an extra turkey or some extra canned goods to help someone else this holiday season. People can donate frozen turkeys right outside the store so they don’t have to worry about transporting them and everyone can be sure of safe handling,” said Norma Cable, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona spokeswoman.

Cable said turkeys donated to the Community Food Bank will be distributed to families in need through some of its 300 partner agencies. Donations of nonperishable food items including traditional holiday side dishes, canned vegetables, canned meats and peanut butter are also needed for distribution through partner agencies and food boxes. About 1,000 people are expected to collect emergency food boxes at the Community Food Bank the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving, according to Cable.

“For us, this is one of the busiest days of the year — if not the busiest,” she said.

Contact freelance writer Loni Nannini at