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950 families may go without Thanksgiving turkey meal

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POSTED November 12, 2013 12:03 a.m.

Violetta York never thought she would need any help feeding her family.

After all, she was working two jobs and earning $5,000 a month.

Then tragedy struck forcing her to go on disability. It got worse as other family members lost their jobs as the housing market imploded triggering the Great Recession.

Today, York tries to make do with $1,000 a month in disability payment. The loss of her jobs plus others in her family being laid off forced her children and grandchildren to move in with her. Her son has a job but there is still a problem of making ends meet to keep a roof over the heads of three generations and taking care of other basic needs such as food.

York is hoping the Turkeys R Us drive is successful this year. If not, there won’t be a Thanksgiving family dinner. Friends and neighbors have offered, if need be, to take in parts of the family to share the Thanksgiving meal.

“It would be different if we were still on the East Coast,” York said as that is where the bulk of her other relatives reside.

While her family would end up being fed, not being able to spend the holiday as a family would hurt. York, for her part, plans to stay home.

York is known as “Gram” by neighborhood children as she never hesitates to feed kids who come through her door hungry even if it stresses her family’s budget even more.

Thanksgiving is just 16 days and the Yorks may be among those that will go without this holiday.

Turkeys R Us as of Monday has collected just under $9,000. That’s enough to purchase 750 turkeys. The only problem are that flood closets serving Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop have a needed for 1,700 turkeys. And that’s just for Thanksgiving. They need another 1,700 for Christmas.

Turkeys R Us though has less than two weeks to raise the necessary money for Thanksgiving. That’s because they need to purchase the birds and deliver them to food closets for distribution.

“It is really going to hurt not being able have out family together on Thanksgiving,” York said. “Family is most important.”

She added children have a hard time understanding why other families can celebrate Thanksgiving with a traditional meal and they can’t.

“It’s real hard when they (hear other students) talk about Thanksgiving at school,” York noted.

A typical household receiving the turkey meals often have at least one person working. They are on the ropes financially either due to reduced hours, medical expenses, or have lost their jobs. A good number are on limited income either as seniors without adequate financial, resources and single mothers.

 Assuming turkeys go for a little more than $1.10 a pound if they can secure that good of a deal, they will need at least $37,000 to meet this year’s demand plus provide fixings for holiday dinners.

Sue Teunissen, who helped start Turkeys R Us 16 years ago, noted given the short time frame there is an urgency to make sure no one goes without this Thanksgiving. The turkey count also includes more than 100 birds for the community turkey dinner being staged on Thanksgiving Day by Manteca Rotary.

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 Lee McNabb at 815-6754, Teunissen at 483-3365, or the second Harvest Food Bank at 239-2091.

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