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210 turkeys needed for Christmas meals
The United Methodist Women made a $250 donation to Turkeys R Us. - photo by Photo Contributed

Another 210 turkeys and no family in need that requested turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year at Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop food closets will go without.

Turkeys R Us has less than two weeks to cover the turkey shortfall.

“We were able to cover all the needs for Thanksgiving,” noted Second Harvest Food Bank Chief Executive Mike Mallory of the requests for turkeys from the food closets serving the three communities.

The original goal was 1,900 or a turkey for both Christmas and Thanksgiving meals for 950 families.

The number of turkeys needed was bumped up by 200. That’s because that was what the Sunrise Kiwanis working with the Manteca Rotary needed to stage the free community Thanksgiving dinner at Mountain Mike’s Pizza.

There were 1,900 people — including shut-ins — in Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop that were fed during the dinner.

The Turkeys R Us effort received a boost on Wednesday when they received a $250 donation from the United Methodist Women as well as two frozen turkeys.

That brought the number of turkeys for the two holidays to 1,890. Turkeys R Us is able to secure turkeys for $12 apiece.

“We’re about 200 or so turkeys short,” Mallory said.

The list of recipients run the gamut from families who have been living paycheck to paycheck and are barely keeping afloat who don’t see food assistance except at the holidays, to struggling families headed by single moms, seniors on fixed income, families where the head of household has lost jobs or that have suffered serve cutbacks in hours or pay, and families dealing with a major financial crisis triggered by health issues.

Frozen turkeys can be taken to 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 .

Turkeys R Us was conceived 17 years ago Sue Teunissen and Gail Fletcher couldn’t stand the thought of their families sitting down to a table overflowing with traditional holiday food on Thanksgiving knowing neighbors and others in Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop were going without.

They had read in the Manteca Bulletin about struggling families that would have a bleak Thanksgiving, grateful to have macaroni and cheese on the table.

So they asked others in their office to help them donate turkeys. They came up with 40. When they delivered them to the food bank they asked whether that met the need. Food bank staff, delighted that they got such a huge donation, had bad news. The demand was much greater.

That is when they decided to do a community turkey drive each year to make sure struggling families in the community are able to share in the bounty of the holidays.