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FOOD FOR THE NEEDY

St. Vincent de Paul Society gears up for annual food-basket distribution

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FOOD FOR THE NEEDY

Delbert Wester, one of the regular volunteers of Saint Vincent de Paul Society at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Manteca, fills up a shopping bag with canned goods and other food for a cli...

ROSE ALBANO RISSO/The Bulletin


POSTED November 14, 2011 12:32 a.m.

With turkey donations desperately down this year, St. Vincent de Paul Society is not guaranteeing that every food basket given away for Thanksgiving will have the traditional turkey and all the trimmings.

But what they can guarantee is that every bag of food distributed on Nov. 22 will have “some type of meat,” said Al DeGroot, former St. Vincent de Paul president and longtime volunteer.

“The outlook for (available) turkeys is not that great from the (Second Harvest) Food Bank,” said DeGroot, reiterating the same refrain that has been coming from the non-profit organization where charitable groups such as St. Vincent de Paul get the turkeys for their annual food-basket giveaways during the holidays.

“But everybody will have some type of meat,” DeGroot said of the individuals and families who have signed up for a Thanksgiving basket.

The brutal economy has significantly eroded charitable giving for turkeys this year that are earmarked for distribution to the needy and those who are having difficulties making ends meet for various reasons such as job layoffs caused by the Great Recession.

St. Vincent de Paul Society president Pete Padron said he put in a request for 230 turkeys from Second Harvest Food Bank but he is not 100 percent sure he will be able to get that many given the shortage of donations this year compounded by the higher-than-usual demand for food.

That means they will be buying the rest of the turkeys or any type of meat that they will need to complete the 300 or more food baskets that they anticipate to distribute for Thanksgiving. They will be purchasing the meat “wherever we can get a discount,” DeGroot said.

Some of the smaller baskets for “single-member families” will probably get a chicken, while others may include a ham, he said.

The good news is that there is no shortage of generous donors in the community for nonperishable canned goods to fill the food baskets.

“We get lots of donated canned goods from the students at St. Anthony’s School,” Padron said.

Neil Hafley School on Northgate Drive, which is working in conjunction with KCRA TV’s food drive, is also donating food to St. Vincent de Paul. Sequoia Heights Baptist Church on South Union and Wawona Avenue in Manteca also has canned goods for the Catholic organization.

“We will be picking up a load of canned goods from the (Sequoia Heights) Baptist Church. They do this every year,” said Padron of the two Manteca churches’ cooperative charitable venture.

Many other service organizations and clubs in the community also donate to this cause every year, Padron said.

He added that parishioners of St. Anthony of Padua have been “very generous” with their donations through the years. Second collections from all the Masses offered every fifth Sunday of the month during the year are all earmarked for St. Vincent de Paul Society, Padron pointed out.

The Society also gets monetary support every year from the proceeds generated by the annual omelet breakfast held every first Sunday of December. This is the only fund-raiser during the year benefiting St. Vincent de Paul.

This event will be held Sunday, Dec. 4, in the church gym after all the Masses from 7 a.m. until noon. Tickets are $7 each for adults, $4 for children. Tickets will be available at the door or from any member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Those who can’t make it to the fund-raiser but would like to help the organization with any donation amount can call St. Vincent de Paul Society at 823-8099 for more information.  The office, which is open Monday to Friday from 1 to 4 p.m., is located at 525 E. North Street in Manteca.

Donations go a long way. Last month alone, the organization helped 690 families, including 1,250 adults and 960 children.

After Thanksgiving, St. Vincent de Paul volunteers will start getting ready for the Christmas food give-away.

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