Published: Nov 16, 2011 4:35 AM EST
Updated: Nov 16, 2011 4:49 AM EST

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- We all know the economy has taken a toll on families across southwest Florida.  With the holidays approaching and Thanksgiving just over a week away, the need is even greater than in years past.  Local food pantries are in desperate need of your help to help families in need.

At the Harry Chapin Food Bank off Fowler Street in Fort Myers, they have until Monday to reach their goal of 9,000 turkeys.  They said Tuesday they are about half way there with less than a week to go.  They're hoping the community will step in to help.

Inside the Harry Chapin Food Bank, Monday's deadline to collect 9,000 turkeys will come fast.  Those turkeys will be distributed to the 150 local organizations that provide Thanksgiving meals to those that need it the most.

"Our hope is that we reach that goal because there are a lot of families out there that need," said Al Brislan, president, Harry Chapin Food Bank.

At the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition, a different story for the 200 families they'll help feed this Thanksgiving.

"The turkeys seem to be flowing in but the Stovetop stuffing and the mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, we don't have any of that," said John Fanning, director, Charlotte County Homeless Coalition.

"When people give us money, it helps us buy turkeys but it also helps us bring in fresh produce," said Brislan.

The Salvation Army said they're looking for as many turkey donations as they can find.  They'll serve 500 people on Thanksgiving and their freezers are empty.  St. Matthew's House in Naples handed out more than 1,500 turkey dinners last year and they're expected even more this year and only have 300 turkeys.

"When people know there is a need, people will give and help out.  So we know that the 2,000 or so turkeys that we need are going to come in somehow, someway," said Vann Ellison, president, St. Matthew's House.

Brisland just hopes everyone has a chance to enjoy a turkey dinner.

"The worst thing to me would be to know that there are families out there that are just getting by eating Ramen for Thanksgiving dinner," said Brislan.

If you'd like to donate, local pantries will accept any type of donation Monday through Friday 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

To donate online visit:
www.harrychapinfoodbank.org
www.salvationarmyleecounty.org
www.cchomelesscoalition.org
www.stmatthewshouse.org