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Text ‘turkey’ to help 1,000 struggling families this Thanksgiving

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POSTED November 5, 2010 3:26 a.m.
The Turkeys R Us effort is $10,000 short with 20 days to go until Thanksgiving.

That means 1,000 struggling families in Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop may go without a traditional holiday meal on Thanksgiving.

If that happens, it will be the first time in 13 years that the need hasn’t been met. The pressure on food closets is greater during the holidays as people who don’t normally turn to food banks for help do so. While a small segment are people on welfare, most are single mom households, households where one or two parents have been laid off or else had hours reduced, the elderly on severely restricted incomes, and those who have become gravely ill.

Turkeys R Us volunteer LeeAnn McNabb indicated that in order to make it easier for people to donate, they have set up a special phone number that connects people to the Second Harvest Food Bank website. On there it will connect them to the Turkeys-R-Us page and allow them to donate through a PayPal account.

You simply text “turkey” to 209-213-1033 to access the page.

A donation of $10 will provide a turkey for a family while $50 will provide an entire holiday meal for a family of four.

As of Wednesday Turkeys R Us had raised $7,000 or enough to provide a turkey to 700 families.

Turkeys R Us actually needs to have $17,000 in hand within 12 days in order to make sure they can order and get turkeys delivered and distributed to food banks in time for Thanksgiving. It will cost an additional $17,000 to fill the need for Christmas.

The organization composed of Realtors associated with Coldwell Banker Crossroads Real Estate has gone 12 consecutive years with raising enough money to make sure no one in Manteca, Lathrop or Ripon went without on Thanksgiving or Christmas when it came to food.

Last year the group raised $35,000.

Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners have in the past fed the families for several days freeing up money to pay for PG&E bills and other essential expenses they can’t ignore.

Sue Teunissen and Gail Fletcher launched Turkeys R Us 13 years ago after reading in the Manteca Bulletin that families in Manteca would go without a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Both thought that was wrong given they’d be celebrating with bountiful food with their families and friends on the day of thanks. So they asked around the office and asked friends for donations allowing them to buy 40 turkeys.

They took them to the food bank thinking they’d met the need only to be told it was a great help but local food closets were still 1,000 turkeys short. They were shocked to find out that there were that many struggling families in Manteca, Lathrop, and Ripon. After that year, they decided no one should go without if they can help it.

If you can assist Turkeys R Us, contact Coldwell Banker Crossroads at 823-8141.
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