Other communities in the Northern San Joaquin Valley are scrambling to try and meet a fraction of the holiday meal needs for their struggling families.
That’s not the case in Manteca, Ripon, or Lathrop. With just under three weeks to go until Christmas, the community has stepped up to make sure Turkeys R Us have enough turkeys and hams — 1,600 to be exact — to distribute to 30 food closets serving struggling families in the three communities.
Now all that is left is to secure donations of cash or items to make sure the holiday meal will have the traditional trimmings as well.
If you can assist Turkeys R Us with the trimmings, contact the Second Harvest Food Bank at 239-2091.
Second Harvest will accept cash or donated items from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the 704 E. Industrial Park Drive location in Manteca.
Donations can also be dropped off at Crossroads Real Estate at 250 Cherry Lane, Suite 105, in Manteca. Turkeys R Us volunteer community coordinator LeAnn McNabb will pick up checks if she is contacted at her cell at 815-6754.
“It went extremely smooth this year,” noted Jessica Vaughn of the Second Harvest Food Bank that helped coordinate the Turkeys R Us undertaking.
Between actual donations and cash community individuals, service groups, families, businesses, and youth groups donated the equivalent of $50,000 plus to make sure no one went without either at Thanksgiving or Christmas.
This marks the 17th consecutive year Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop have met community needs during the holidays by providing the traditional main course for meals. This year 3,200 struggling households benefitted at Thanksgiving and will be helped with turkeys and hams at Christmas as well.
Turkeys R Us started 18 years ago when Realtor Sue Teunissen along with associate Gail Fletcher read in the Manteca Bulletin there was a shortage of turkeys at Thanksgiving. They got other people in the office and friends to donate 40 turkeys and delivered them to the food bank.
They thought they had covered the need only to be told they were still 1,000 turkeys short.
They then not to let a holiday season go by without making sure everyone in the greater Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop community had a traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas meal.
“I wouldn’t have felt right knowing neighbors in my community were going without while I sat down to a Thanksgiving dinner with my family,” Teunissen recalled seven years ago.
For 17 years Turkeys R Us has met that goal with the help of hundreds in the community.