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McManis gives $20K for turkeys

Organizers now hoping for complete Thanksgiving, Christmas meals for 1,700

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McManis  gives $20K  for turkeys

Family owned and operated since 1990 by Ron and Jamie McManis, McManis Family Vineyards now farms over 2,600 acres of premium wine grapes located throughout the Northern San Joaquin Valley. Justin ...

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POSTED November 19, 2013 1:35 a.m.

It’s been a very good year for McManis Family Winery in Ripon.

And as a gesture of thanks, the family-owned winery on River Road has written a $20,000 check to Turkeys R Us so those struggling in Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop can literally share in the bounty of the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

The gesture has taken what was looking like a bleak Thanksgiving for the 16th annual Turkeys R Us drive aiming to providing struggling families with traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and has inspired volunteers with the effort to start daring to dream the impossible.

“If the community continues to come through we could have full Thanksgiving meals for the first time ever (for every) struggling family in Ripon, Manteca, and Lathrop,” noted Second Harvest Food Bank Executive Director Mike Mallory.

In the last 16 years, Turkeys R Us has managed to provide a turkey or ham for needy families at Christmas and Thanksgiving plus one or two of the traditional dinner such as potatoes and pumpkin pie. Now they are daring to think the impossible: Making it a true Thanksgiving and Christmas featuring a turkey compete with fresh vegetables, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce and pie. And it would be a feast that would last for several days.

It’s a dream, by the way, shared by others who have indicated they are being inspired to step up even more to make 2013 holiday season — despite nagging double digit unemployment, an uneven recovery, and people still trying to get out from being slammed hard by the housing collapse — to one that people won’t forget.

Mallory said in the past other regional food banks throughout the nation can’t believe three communities the size of Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop can come through and deliver 1,700 turkeys for each holiday. Usually regional food bank distribution centers are ecstatic if they can secure a couple hundred turkeys to distribute to local food banks.

The total effort so far is just under $30,000. That means there are ample funds to cover the turkey costs for Thanksgiving leaving them just $7,000 shy of the overall money needed to pick up the Christmas turkey tab as well.

But if donations of turkeys and funds keep coming in they just might be able to secure not just the main course for Christmas but traditional holiday dinner fixings for all 1,700 households.

The Manteca Firefighters Association is stepping up to see if they can help make that possible. This Saturday between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. they are conducting a turkey and food drive outside of Safeway on South Main Street.

Sue Teunnisen, a Turkeys R Us founder, said she was stunned when the McManis family called her and said what they wanted to do.

“They had read in the Bulletin about how the outlook wasn’t too good that we’d meet our goal this year,” Teunnisen. “They said they had a good year and they wanted to share that with the community.”

Teunnisen had been driven to try and make sure no one goes without during the holidays ever since she read in the Bulletin 16 years ago that more than 1,000 households including single moms, the working poor, those hit with medical costs and/or job losses and the elderly on limited fixed income could not afford the traditional holiday meal.

Turkeys R Us effort has made it possible for once-a-year people who seek assistance to have a traditional holiday meal for their families.

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.

Second Harvest will accept frozen turkeys or hams from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the 704 E. Industrial Park Drive location in Manteca.

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