Scrooge doesn’t live in Manteca, Ripon or Lathrop.
For the 18th consecutive year every identified struggling households in the three communities will enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner thanks to their neighbors embracing the Turkeys R Us drive.
Three weeks after the community met the challenge for Thanksgiving and 1½ weeks before Christmas there are enough turkeys and hams as well as the fixings going to the 14 food banks that serve needy families in Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop.
That’s 1,850 turkeys for Thanksgiving and 1,850 turkeys and hams for Christmas.
Second Harvest Food Bank CEO Mike Mallory who helps oversee the Turkeys R Us effort noted this is the earliest the Christmas need has ever been met.
“We’re very blessed to have such a community,” Mallory said. “To take care of all the needs every year even when the numbers get bigger is incredible.”
It is a feat that Mallory believes has no equal. The Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop communities have 115,000 residents between them. Mallory said you will be hard pressed to find another community of the same size meeting the holiday need by kids emptying their piggybanks, the elderly on fixed income putting aside a dollar or so each month because they remember what it was like to go without at the holidays, families donating a turkey or cash, and businesses and community groups stepping up with $100 plus checks.
Turkeys R Us was born 19 years ago when two real estate agents — Gail Fletcher and Sue Teunissen – who read in the Manteca Bulletin that families would go without Thanksgiving meals that year.
They took up a collection at their office —Crossroads Real Estate — and were able to buy 11 turkeys to take to the food bank.
They recalled how they thought they were making a big dent and asked how meeting the need at Thanksgiving was going. When they were told there would be about 1,000 families going without, it hit them like a ton of bricks.
Teunnisen said at the time it didn’t seem right that while her family would be sitting down to the traditional meal and counting their blessing that neighbors in the community would go without and more than likely end up having hot dogs and macaroni and cheese making it just another day.
From that point out, the two women vowed to make sure that their neighbors that live in arguably the most bountiful valley ever known to mankind would not go without again at Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Tickets on sale
State of the City
Tickets are now on sale for Manteca’s first State of the City presentation on Wednesday, Jan. 25, from 7:30 to 10 a.m. at the MRPS Hall, 133 N. Grant St.
The event is being organized by the City of Manteca and Manteca Chamber of Commerce.
Speakers are Thomas Pogue and James Waterman.
Pogue is Director for the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of the Pacific. Waterman is Google West Region Manager for State, Local, and Education Markets.
Networking and a light breakfast is from 7:30 to 8 a.m. The program is from 8 to 10 a.m.
Tickets are $15 per person. They are available online at www.Manteca.org or by calling the chamber at 823.6121.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com