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Rough economy creates bigger holiday need for Turkeys-R-Us

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POSTED October 12, 2009 2:49 a.m.

Turkeys-R-Us organizers anticipate they will need to raise funds for 2,600 turkeys to make sure struggling families, low-income seniors, and the unemployed in Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop do not go without the main course for holiday meals this Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Sue Teunissen, who has helped spearhead the effort for the past 12 years, said she couldn’t enjoy setting down to a bountiful meal and offering blessings for her family’s spread knowing that someone in the community would not be doing the same due to the economy.

Teunissen along with other organizers understand the economy is rough on everyone. They are helpful, though, that people will again step up to help their neighbors. Last year, Turkeys R Us supplied 1,220 families in Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop with turkeys for both holidays.

 Oftentimes people do not realize the extent of hunger in Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop noted Kari Tapia who once a month volunteers to deliver food to shut ins

Two years ago she recalls that her then 23-year-old daughter Jennifer Tapia joined her at Thanksgiving to make deliveries.

At one particular stop an elderly lady was overjoyed that she was receiving food noting that up until then she didn’t think she’d be eating on Thanksgiving.

That prompted her daughter to go to the store to purchase a chicken, cranberries, rolls, and other trimmings out of her own pocket so the elderly lady wouldn’t be without on Thanksgiving.

This year with unemployment at 13.8 percent - almost 5 percent higher than last year – organizers expect many people who dug into their pockets last year to need help this year especially construction workers.

“We had people who work construction who come in and give us $50 out of their pocket,” Tuenissen said. “With the way things are going in construction, they may be the ones needing help now.”

There are also a number of struggling families who may still have jobs but are underemployed or simply doing everything they can to make ends meet such as single moms as well as elderly on limited income.

Small donations $25, S10, and $5 constitute the bulk of Turkeys R Us donations.

“There are sometimes elderly on fixed incomes that come in and give us $5,” noted Second Harvest Executive Director Mike Mallory. “That $5 to them is like $100 to most people.

Organizers noted that ways that some people have told them they set aside money for the Turkeys R Us effort include:
•putting aside pocket change.
•skipping a Starbucks coffee once a week to come up with $15.

A number of people take the free turkeys they get for buying a set amount of food at supermarkets during the holidays and donate that to the effort.

Donations (make checks out to Turkeys R Us) can be dropped off at Coldwell Banker Crossroads offices at 319 Main Street near North Street in Manteca or 15810 S. Harlan Road in Lathrop or the Second Harvest Food Bank, 704 E. Industrial Park Drive in Manteca.

If you want to donate a frozen turkey or ham, take it directly to the food bank

For more information contact Crossroads Real Estate at 823-8141 or the food bank at 239-2091.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com

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