Woodbridge at Del Webb residents collected $478 so far or enough to buy Thanksgiving turkeys for 40 struggling families in Manteca, Ripon and Lathrop.
It was part of $773 donated to the Turkeys R Us drive on Monday along with seven frozen turkeys. There is now enough to supply 590 families with a Thanksgiving turkey.
With 10 days left before turkeys have to be ordered so they can be distributed to 12 food closets serving Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop the community-based effort is 360 turkeys short for Thanksgiving. That is in addition to 950 they need for Christmas to make sure no struggling family in the three communities goes without a traditional holiday meal.
Sue Teunissen and Gail Fletcher launched Turkeys R Us 17 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.
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.
Several groups have stepped up to conduct turkey drives for the effort.
Events and dates where turkeys can be dropped off at are:
• Wednesday, Nov. 12: Second Harvest hosting the Manteca Chamber of Commerce. Donations can be made during the event 8 to 9 a.m.
• Friday, Nov. 14: Bank of the West Manteca, Commerce Avenue, 3 to 6 p.m.
• Friday thru Sunday, Nov. 14-16: Stuff the Bus with Regional Transit District at the Food 4 Less in Manteca (Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10a.m. to 4 p.m.)
• Saturday, Nov. 15: Stuff the Fire Truck at Safeway in Manteca 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Sunday, Nov. 16: Northgate Little League at the snack shack on Hoyt Avenue 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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 www.localfoodbank.org 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.