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Donations pour in to help feed families at Christmas

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The line of struggling families hoping to receive a free Christmas food basket from Cornerstone Community Church on Saturday wrapped around the church building.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED December 19, 2012 12:46 a.m.

No struggling family in Manteca, Ripon, or Lathrop requesting a Christmas food basket complete with ham or turkey will go without.

Thanks to last minute donations to Turkeys R Us, the 18 food closets serving the three communities received enough turkeys and hams to meet the need. Some 1,900 families requested help this season.

“The community is incredible,” said Mike Mallory who helped coordinate the Turkeys R Us effort.

The Turkeys R Us campaign was launched 15 years ago. For the past 14 years they have met all of the turkey and ham needs for needy households in Manteca Ripon, and Lathrop. This year that meant a combined 3,900 hams and turkeys were provided for distribution through food closets. That translates into more than $40,000 in donations.

Mallory is also the chief executive officer of the Second Harvest Food Bank based in Manteca that serves seven counties including Stanislaus and San Joaquin.

Since taken over the top job at the food bank, the number of people in the region relying on food closets supplied by Second Harvest has gone from 225,000 to almost 300,000.

The region has been hard hit by unemployment and foreclosures. Part of the increase, though is from families that still have one or two wage earners. In such cases their hours or pay have been drastically reduced due to the Great Recession.

Mallory noted that Manteca is the only city in the food bank’s service area that has consistently made sure that no one within their community goes without during the holidays.

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