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$5,430 in 5 hours helps Turkeys R Us reach goal
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The money started pouring in Tuesday the second Coldwell Banker Crossroads Real Estate opened their doors for business at 8:30 a.m.

And by the time 1 o’clock rolled around the community had dropped off $5,430 to the North Main Street real estate office to make sure Turkeys R Us had enough funds so no struggling families would go without a turkey dinner this Thanksgiving in Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop.

“It’s amazing,” said Turkeys R Us founder Sue Tuenissen. “We are blessed to live in a community like Manteca.”

The largest donation was for $1,000. There were several $500 donations as well. Most though were $10, $25, and $100 donations to help struggling families in the three communities.

A front page story in Tuesday’s Manteca Bulletin noted Turkeys R Us had less than four days to raise $4,500 or else for the first time in 12 years struggling families would go without traditional Thanksgiving meals. Organizers were quoted as being “stunned” about a last-minute surge in requests from food closets that had pushed the number of needy families from 1,450 to almost 2,000. Food closet representatives said they were getting inundated from people who had never asked for help before but due to cutback in hours or job loss were facing the real prospect of not having Thanksgiving.

Turkeys R Us organizers on Thursday had about $10,500 to pay for turkeys. After the weekend they thought they had the resources needed due to additional cash contributions as well as more than 130 turkeys dropped off over the weekend only to find out the need was much greater than anticipated.

The community so far has donated over $17,000. Whatever isn’t needed for Thanksgiving will be put toward covering Christmas meals for struggling families as well.

“It (the generosity) says a lot about Manteca as a community,” Teunissen said. “Larger communities like Modesto and Stockton don’t even come close to meeting their local need.”

Turkeys R Us trying to provide Christmas meals next for families
Teunissen and Gail Fletcher launched Turkeys R Us 13 years ago after reading in the Manteca Bulletin that families in Manteca would go without a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Both thought that was wrong given they’d be celebrating with bountiful food with their families and friends on the day of thanks. So they asked around the office and asked friends for donations allowing them to buy 40 turkeys.

They took them to the food bank thinking they’d met the need only to be told it was a great help but local food closets were still 1,000 turkeys short. They were shocked to find out that there were that many struggling families in Manteca, Lathrop, and Ripon. After that year, they decided no one should go without if they can help it.

Organizers noted while a small segment of people seeking help with Thanksgiving are on welfare, most are single mom households, households where one or two parents have been laid off or else had hours reduced, the elderly on severely restricted incomes, and those who have become gravely ill.

Turkeys R Us still has to meet the need for Christmas meals for nearly 2,000 families.

If you can assist Turkeys R Us, contact Coldwell Banker Crossroads at 823-8141.

You can also use a special phone number that connects people to the Second Harvest Food bank website. On there it will connect them to the Turkeys-R-Us page and allow them to donate through a PayPal account.

You simply text “turkey” to 209-213-1033 to access the page.

A donation of $10 will provide a turkey for a family while $50 will provide an entire holiday meal for a family of four.

If you have an actual turkey you’d like to donate, you can take it directly to the Second Harvest Food bank on Industrial Park Drive near the branch post office and indicate it is for Turkeys R Us. The drop-off can be done Monday through Friday before 4:30 p.m.