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1,900 families may go without Thanksgiving meal
Northgate Little League players were among those collecting turkeys last year. - photo by Photo Contributed

The drought means upwards of 200 more families in Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop will struggle this Thanksgiving to put food on their table, let alone a traditional feast.

That’s because cutbacks in agricultural production due to water shortages has reduced agricultural-related employment from picking crops to transporting them to processing them.

That coupled with the sluggish economic recovery that has resulted in more part-time jobs plus those dealing with financial difficulties means the Turkeys R Us Drive has a need for 1,900 turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. That’s up from 1,668 last year.

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

Currently the Turkeys R Us drive that is now in its 17th year has $2,500 in the bank leftover frorm last year’s campaign. That means they have enough to buy 208 turkeys with the initial need of 950 turkeys just 27 days away. Actually, they need the turkeys in about 21 days since they have to be purchased and distributed to the 12 food pantries in Manteca, Lathrop, and Ripon that help struggling families.

“The Turkeys we receive from (the Turkeys R Us) put smiles on the faces of the many families we serve,” said Julie McGregor at Calvary Community Church. “They are happy that they will have the chance for a traditional Thanksgiving meal that they can share with their loved ones.”

Overall to cover both holidays, Turkeys R Us needs to collect 1,692 more turkeys or funds to buy them. The Second Harvest Food Bank has arranged to purchase 10 to 12 pound turkeys at a cost of $12 each

A part of those turkeys will be used by the Sunrise Kiwanis to feed upwards of 2,000 people at their annual free Thanksgiving Day dinner conducted at Mountain Mike’s Pizza.

“Even though the need continues to grow year after year, our community remains steadfast in their mission to fight hunger,” noted Second Harvest Food Bank Executive Director Mike Mallory. “One tradition that we are especially proud to be a part of is the community feeding that Sunrise Kiwanis sponsors in conjunction with Mountain Mike’s Pizza. It is really amazing to be able to provide not only a meal but also help those struggling build a tradition that they may not have had otherwise.”

Frozen turkeys can be dropped off at Second Harvest at 704 E. Industrial Park Drive in Manteca Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monetary donations can be made online at or dropped off or mailed to Second Harvest, Coldwell Banker 319 N. Main St. Manteca, or Beacon Realty 211 E. Center St. Manteca .

Sue Teunissen and Leann McNabb are chairing the drive. If you have questions contact the food bank at 239.2091 or contact McNabb at 815.6754.