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1,205 families may go without Thanksgiving

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POSTED November 15, 2011 1:27 a.m.

Turkeys R Us has generated enough donations during the past 12 years to make sure no struggling family went without a traditional turkey dinner on Thanksgiving.

Now it looks as though that string of success is about to be broken.

The community-based Turkeys R Us effort as of Monday has raised just enough to supply 1,295 struggling families in Manteca, Lathrop, and Ripon with turkeys this year. That includes 550 actual turkeys and $11,177 that will be used to buy additional birds at 99 cents a pound.

That leaves 1,305 that will probably end up without a turkey meal this Thanksgiving.

The effort has just four days left to raise the money or receive actual turkey donations in order to make sure they are distributed in time to the 30 food closets serving the three communities.

The undertaking was helped a bit when the actual number of orders that food closets placed for struggling families was 2,500 instead of the projected 2,800. That is down from last year’s numbers and reflects the fact unemployment has dropped almost 2 percent during the same time period.

Food closets see a surge in demand this time of year with requests for help. The additional requests come from families that usually try to avoid asking for help. They tend to be families that have seen a reduction in pay or hours, have lost a job in the household, have been hit by unexpected medical bills, are single-parent homes, or are seniors on limited incomes.

Their dilemma is underscored by the fact the cost of a traditional turkey dinner has skyrocketed by 13 percent over 2010 prices according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Second Harvest Food Bank has said they will try to meet the need for food posed by the struggling families by providing other items if they have no other choice. They have, for example, an ample supply of cereal thanks to General Mills.

Marie Raymus - owner of the Manteca Bowl & Family Fun Center - is donating $1 from every game and $1 from every shoe rental at Manteca Bowl this Thursday from 5 to 11 p.m. to the Turkeys R Us effort.

If you can assist Turkeys R Us, contact Coldwell Banker Crossroads (North and North Main Street in Manteca) at 823-8141. You can also call LeAnn McNabb at 815-6754, Sue Teunissen at 483-3365, or the Second Harvest Food Bank at 239-2091.

If you have an actual turkey you’d like to donate, you can take it directly to the Second Harvest Food bank on Industrial Park Drive near the branch post office and indicate it is for Turkeys R Us. The drop-off can be done Monday through Friday before 4:30 p.m.

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