Published: Oct 05, 2011 10:20 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla.- Thanksgiving may be more than a month away, but the Harry Chapin food bank doesn't have any turkeys. The food bank is experiencing a near record need for help and this year, will need nearly 10,000 turkeys to feed hungry families.

Turkey is a Thanksgiving staple, which is why the Harry Chapin food bank is gearing up for a turkey drive. Their goal is a lofty 9,000. That's an increase from last year, where they distributed 8,000 turkeys.

Al Brislain says the nearly 200 food pantries across Southwest Florida that Harry Chapin supports, are reporting an increase in need.

"There's a lot of people out there where it's tough time for them right, so we're doing our best to help them in their time of need," Brislain said.

Because of the increase, the agency is starting their turkey drive now.

Brislain says any help is appreciated.

"If people want to do a turkey drive in their neighborhood or clubs, anything they can do to help out," Brislain said.

A food bank truck can come pick up the turkeys collected.

Or turkeys can be purchased at the store and dropped off at the agency's headquarters on Fowler Street in Fort Myers.

"This is a very generous community. People stepped up last year. We hope they will step up this year. There are so many of your neighbors out there who are hurting right now, we're hoping they'll help out," Brislain explained.

The goal is to have enough turkeys on the Friday before Thanksgiving, so they can be distributed in time. If you don't want to donate a turkey, the food bank says cash and check donations are also helpful.