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Effort short 398 turkeys in attempt to provide Thanksgiving to struggling families
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Manteca Noon Rotary Club President Charlie Halford was surrounded by members of the Second Harvest Food Bank as he was making a $172 donation to Turkeys R Us effort. Office staffers from left are Kerri Tapia, Donna Sabean, and Kristen McMahan. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Turkeys R Us is 398 turkeys short of making sure that no struggling family in Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop goes without a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving.

The drive to make sure that the effort can reach its goal is being driven in the final days by families and individuals taking advantage of store discounts to secure birds that would otherwise require at least a $15 donation turned in during the Stuff the Bus effort outside Food-4-Less today through Sunday will make its way to the tables families sin need.

Manteca Transit is urging people to help Stuff the Bus outside Food-4-Less on Spreckels Avenue Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to help struggling families during the holiday season. Suggested food items include pasta, macaroni and cheese, boxed mashed potatoes, packaged rice or beans, canned fruit, canned vegetables, canned poultry or canned fish, peanut butter, coral products, and canned soup. They also will be accepting turkey, chicken and other frozen food products.

The community-based Turkeys R Us effort as of Thursday has raised enough in donations and actual turkeys to provide a turkey to 2,502 struggling families in Manteca, Lathrop, and Ripon with turkeys this year.

That leaves 398 families that could end up without a turkey meal this Thanksgiving.

The effort needs to raise the money or receive actual turkey donations in the next few days in order to make sure they are distributed in time to the 30 food closets serving the three communities. Some turkeys are being delivered to food closets today for distribution on Saturday while the rest will be dropped off Monday or Tuesday for distribution efforts at the remaining food closets.

Food closets see a surge in demand this time of year with requests for help. The additional requests come from families that usually try to avoid asking for help. They tend to be families that have seen a reduction in pay or hours, have lost a job in the household, have been hit by unexpected medical bills, are single parent homes, or are seniors on limited incomes.

Fouling up the drive this year is the fact the cost of a traditional turkey dinner has skyrocketed by 13 percent over 2010 prices according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

If you can assist Turkeys R Us, contact Coldwell Banker Crossroads (North and North Main Street in Manteca) at 823-8141. You can also call LeAnn McNabb at 815-6754, Sue Teunissen at 483-3365, or the Second Harvest Food Bank at 239-2091.

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.