"We've all felt the impact of the economy in recent months, so it's important for us to give back during the holidays to help lessen the extra financial stress this time of year," area Foodland owner Jim Oppe said when the program was introduced.
Spending at least $350 earned shoppers a free 14-pound turkey. If they spent more than $499 during the program, shoppers were eligible to select a turkey weighing up to 22 pounds.
Shoppers began picking up their free turkeys through the program on Nov. 17, and can continue picking them up through Thanksgiving.
Beverly Glaze, a registered dietician and adult program specialist with the West Virginia University Extension Service's Family Nutrition Programs, said the best way to keep Thanksgiving meal costs down is to plan the meal around your budget and not the other way around.
Glaze suggests shoppers start planning in advance by taking a headcount of expected guests and sticking to specific recipes in order to break down each dish into its needed ingredients. Cooks should keep a Thanksgiving shopping list ahead of time, that way it's easier to take advantage of sales and promotions as they come up.
She also suggested not making everything from scratch in order to save time and money.
"With all the food sales around the holidays, buying items like rolls or whipped cream will probably be cheaper than making them from scratch," she said.
Frozen turkeys can be stored in a freezer for up to one year. If you see a frozen turkey at the right price, consider purchasing two and saving one. Grabbing extras of popular holiday sale items, like canned green beans, can also save you money in the long run.
Canned items like green beans or peas can also store
Glaze also said shoppers can spread out the cost of the meal by coming up with a post-Thanksgiving meal plan.
"One the best ways to ease Thanksgiving costs is to have a good plan to manage leftovers," she said.
Glaze said she makes a turkey soup each year with her extra turkey and vegetables.
"I can boil the turkey carcass for an hour to loosen the little remaining pieces of meat," she said. "Instead of throwing out those leftovers they become a main ingredient for a turkey soup."
She said leftover stuffing, turkey and vegetables can be used to make a turkey pot pie by adding the leftovers as ingredients in any turkey pot pie recipe.
Regardless of how shoppers try to cut costs, Farm Bureau Foundation President Bob Stallman said the meal is still a great deal when compared to the cost of other meals at restaurants and fast food joints.
"The cost of this year's meal, at less than $5-per-serving, remains an excellent value for consumers," Stallman said.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at busin...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.