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From Roast Beef to Sacrificing Turkey: 3 Alternatives to Traditional Thanksgiving Meals

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How to Find a Free Turkey for Thanksgiving and Why Turkey Prices May Be Higher This Year

When you envision a traditional Thanksgiving meal, turkey is likely to be the centerpiece. However, not everyone can afford to buy a turkey, and some may face difficulty finding one due to higher prices or limited availability.

In this article, we will explore various ways you can obtain a free turkey for Thanksgiving, and also examine some of the factors that may contribute to the rising cost of turkey in general.

Finding Free Turkeys for Thanksgiving

While a turkey can be a delicious and satisfying addition to your holiday table, it can also be expensive, especially if you are on a tight budget or facing financial hardship. Fortunately, there are several ways to get a turkey for free or at a greatly reduced cost.

Here are some options you might consider:

– Cashback Apps: Ibotta, a popular cashback app, offers a 100% cashback offer on Thanksgiving foods, including a Butterball turkey and some popular sides, such as potatoes, bread, and gravy. Other cashback apps, such as Rakuten and Dosh, may also have similar deals on groceries or gift cards that can be used to buy a turkey at a discounted price.

– Trading in Credit Card Rewards: If you have accumulated credit card rewards, you may be able to exchange them for a gift card to a grocery store, such as Walmart, Target, or Amazon Fresh, where you can buy a Butterball frozen turkey. Some credit card companies also offer special promotions, such as a bonus for spending a certain amount on groceries, which can help you save money on a turkey.

– Supermarket Rewards: Many grocery stores have rewards programs that can earn you points or discounts on purchases, including turkeys. For example, Weis Markets, Foodtown, ShopRite, Acme Markets, Giant, and Hy-Vee are among the stores that offer free turkey deals for customers who meet certain spending requirements.

Check your local store’s rewards program to see if you are eligible for a free turkey. – Local Food Pantries: Food pantries are nonprofit organizations that distribute food to people in need, including low-income families, seniors, and individuals facing hunger.

Some food pantries have a special Thanksgiving program that provides free turkeys, as well as other holiday staples, such as stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pie. To find a food pantry near you, visit and enter your zip code.

– Local Churches and Religious Organizations: Many churches and religious groups have outreach programs that offer assistance to community members who are struggling with food insecurity or other challenges. Some churches organize food drives or collaborate with local sponsors to provide free turkeys and other holiday foods to families in their congregation or neighborhood.

Contact your local church or check its website for information about such programs. – United Way 211: United Way is a nonprofit organization that works to improve lives by mobilizing the community and advancing the common good.

United Way 211 is a free and confidential helpline that connects people in need with local resources and assistance, including food pantries, holiday programs, and other support services. Simply dial 211 from your phone or visit to access their online database.

– School Districts: Some school districts have counselors or social workers who can offer referrals to community organizations or resources that may be able to help with food, housing, or other needs. Check with your child’s school district or call the district office to ask if they have a food drive or partnership with a local sponsor that can provide free turkeys or other holiday food items.

You can also try contacting community organizations directly. – Facebook Buy Nothing or Community-Focused Groups: Online social networks, such as Facebook, can be a source of community support and connection.

You may find local groups that focus on buying, selling, trading, or giving away items, including turkeys. Join a group in your area and post a request for a free turkey, or check if anyone has a surplus from their workplace, such as Costco workers who may receive free turkeys as a holiday bonus.

– Meals on Wheels: Meals on Wheels is a national organization that provides hot, nutritious meals to seniors who are homebound or unable to cook for themselves. On Thanksgiving Day, Meals on Wheels may serve a special holiday meal that includes turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, and pie.

However, you need to apply for Meals on Wheels and go through an assessment process to see if you are eligible for their services, which may involve a waitlist. To learn more, visit

As you can see, there are various ways to find a free turkey for Thanksgiving. Some of these options require you to meet certain criteria, such as income level or location, while others may involve some effort on your part, such as applying for assistance or participating in a program.

However, by exploring different avenues and planning ahead, you may be able to enjoy a tasty and heartfelt Thanksgiving meal without breaking the bank.

Factors Contributing to Higher Turkey Prices

While it is possible to get a free or low-cost turkey, you may have noticed that the overall price of turkey has gone up in recent years. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average retail price of whole frozen turkeys was $1.21 per pound in 2020, an increase of 7 cents from the previous year.

This may not seem like a big jump, but it can add up if you are buying a large bird or several turkeys for a business or event. So, why are turkey prices higher, and what can you do about it?

Here are some possible factors that may contribute to the increase in turkey prices:

– Inflation: Inflation is a general rise in the prices of goods and services over time, caused by a decrease in the value of currency and an increase in the cost of production and distribution. When inflation occurs, the purchasing power of consumers decreases, and they have to pay more for the same items.

While inflation affects the economy as a whole, it can have a significant impact on food prices, as food is a basic necessity that people cannot easily do without. As inflation rises, food prices tend to follow, including the price of turkey.

– Avian Flu: Avian flu, also known as bird flu, is a contagious viral disease that affects birds, including turkeys. When an outbreak of avian flu occurs, it can lead to a reduction in the supply of turkeys and an increase in the cost of producing and transporting turkeys.

In addition, some countries may ban or restrict the import of poultry products from affected areas, which can disrupt the global market for turkey and lead to higher prices in some regions. – Supply Chain Issues: Supply chain issues refer to disruptions or inefficiencies in the process of getting a product from the manufacturer or farm to the consumer.

For turkeys, supply chain issues may include transportation delays, labor shortages, or weather-related events that impact the production, storage, or delivery of turkeys. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for turkey shifted from restaurants and caterers to grocery stores and home consumers, prompting some turkey processing plants to close temporarily or reduce their capacity, which could affect the availability and price of turkeys.

To cope with higher turkey prices, you may need to adjust your budget or consider alternatives to turkey, such as other types of poultry, ham, or vegetarian options. You may also want to shop around for the best deals on turkey or use some of the methods we discussed earlier to get a free turkey.

By being mindful of your spending and resourceful in your search for a free turkey, you can still enjoy a meaningful and delicious Thanksgiving with your loved ones. In summary, getting a free turkey for Thanksgiving may require some creativity and resourcefulness, but there are several options available, from cashback apps to food pantries to hunting.

Similarly, the rising cost of turkey may be influenced by inflation, avian flu, and supply chain issues, but you can still find ways to manage your budget and enjoy the holiday. We hope this article has provided you with some insights and ideas on how to tackle these challenges and make the most of your Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family and friends to give thanks and share a meal. Traditionally, this meal includes a roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and other side dishes and desserts.

However, not everyone enjoys or can eat these traditional foods, for various reasons, such as dietary restrictions, cultural differences, or personal preference. Fortunately, there are alternative options that can still make your Thanksgiving meal delicious and memorable.

In this article, we will explore three alternatives to traditional Thanksgiving meals: roast beef, pizza, and sacrificing turkey.

Roast Beef

Roast beef is a classic meat dish that is tender, flavorful, and easy to prepare. Unlike turkey, which requires several hours of cooking in the oven and can be prone to dryness or unevenness, roast beef can be cooked to your desired level of doneness and seasoned with your favorite herbs and spices.

Roast beef also pairs well with many of the same side dishes that are often served with turkey, such as green beans, carrots, cranberry sauce, and rolls. To make a roast beef for your Thanksgiving meal, you will need a boneless or bone-in beef roast, such as ribeye, sirloin, or tenderloin, a roasting pan, a meat thermometer, and some basic seasonings, such as salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary.

Here is a simple recipe you can follow:

– Preheat your oven to 350 F. – Season the beef roast with salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary, rubbing the spices all over the meat.

– Place the beef roast in a roasting pan and insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the roast. – Roast the beef for about 15-20 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature reaches 135 F for medium-rare, 145 F for medium, or 155 F for well-done.

– Remove the roast from the oven and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Roast beef is a great alternative to turkey for those who prefer a different type of meat or want a more streamlined cooking process.


Pizza is a versatile and crowd-pleasing food that can be customized to suit almost any taste or dietary need. Whether you prefer a classic pepperoni and cheese pizza or a veggie-packed masterpiece, pizza offers a quick and easy meal option that can be shared and enjoyed by all.

To make pizzas for your Thanksgiving meal, you will need pizza dough, tomato sauce, cheese, and toppings of your choice, such as meat, vegetables, herbs, and fruit. You can either make your own pizza dough from scratch, or buy pre-made dough at a grocery store or pizzeria.

Here is a recipe for making homemade pizza dough:

– In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, 1 package of yeast, 1 tsp of sugar, and 1 tsp of salt. – Gradually stir in cup of warm water and 3 tbsp of olive oil until the dough forms a ball.

– Knead the dough on a floured surface for 5-10 minutes, or until it becomes smooth and elastic. – Cover the dough with a damp towel and let it rise for 30 minutes.

– Preheat your oven to 450 F and prepare your pizza toppings. – Roll out the dough into a circle or rectangle and place it on a pizza pan or baking sheet.

– Spread tomato sauce over the dough and sprinkle cheese and toppings on top. – Bake the pizza for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.

Pizza is a fun and tasty alternative to turkey for those who want a more casual, easygoing meal that can be customized to their preferences.

Sacrificing Turkey

Sacrificing turkey is not a literal alternative to eating turkey, but rather a symbolic and ethical choice that some people make to honor the spirit of Thanksgiving without harming animals. The Sacrifice Ceremony, also known as the National Day of Mourning, is a Native American tradition that dates back to the 17th century and serves as a reminder of the injustices and losses that Indigenous people have suffered due to colonization and land theft.

To participate in the Sacrifice Ceremony, you can gather with a group of like-minded people to pay tribute to the land, ancestors, and animals that have been harmed or destroyed by human actions. You can share stories, songs, and prayers, and offer thanks and apology to all beings.

You can also prepare a communal meal that consists of plant-based foods, such as vegetables, grains, and fruits, that can sustain and nourish your body and soul. While sacrificing turkey may not be a feasible or desirable option for everyone, it can provide a meaningful and respectful way to celebrate Thanksgiving that aligns with your values and beliefs.

In conclusion, whether you choose to make roast beef, pizza, or forgo meat altogether, there are many alternatives to traditional Thanksgiving meals that can satisfy your hunger and your heart. By being open to new flavors and ideas, and by sharing your meal with loved ones and neighbors, you can create a festive and inclusive atmosphere that reflects the spirit of Thanksgiving: gratitude, unity, and harmony.

In conclusion, this article explored various alternatives to a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Whether you choose to make roast beef, pizza, or honor the spirit of sacrifice, there are many options available to cater to different preferences, dietary needs, and cultural backgrounds.

While turkey has been a staple of Thanksgiving for many years, it is important to remember that the true meaning of the holiday is about sharing and gratitude, and that these values can be expressed in different ways. By being open-minded and respectful of others’ choices, and by focusing on what truly matters, we can create a Thanksgiving experience that is inclusive, meaningful, and memorable.

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