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Her birthday wish: No gifts, help food bank instead
Food Bnk Gift
Donna Warren and her husband Doyle are focused on Second Harvest Food Bank for her upcoming 80th birthday asking family and friends to donate any gift money to the Second Harvest needs in her name. Food Bank staffers at right are Kristen Salas above and Jessica Vaughan. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

Donna Warren – soon to be 80 – said she wants any birthday gifts to go to the Second Harvest Food Bank in the form of monetary support.

Warren and her husband Doyle were at the food bank in the Manteca Industrial Park Tuesday afternoon pledging their unusual gift of support to Second Harvest on her special day in December – Christmas Day.  Warren said she has thrilled herself with the idea – constantly smiling since she decided to give to others in need in her name.

The couple has been married 36 years.  Doyle has been retired for 30 years and just enjoying life together.  Her dad Bud Young lived to be 101, she added.

Second Harvest staffer Kirsten Salas gave the couple a tour of the facility and showed them a four minute video clip to make them more aware of the staff and the contents of the building in Manteca’s Industrial Park.

She said she knows what it’s like to have been poor early in life and met many challenges in the process.  The world was fuzzy to her until she reached the eighth grade where teachers made sure she had a pair of glasses even though they were half an inch thick.  She recalled she could make out the leaves on the trees instead of just green blobs.

The couple has been involved in square dancing in Manteca years ago and have traveled to every state in the continental United States. 

“I like to travel because every day is a new experience in the country,” she said.  “We have wonderful people in the country who have kept us safe in the travels in our motor home (but we haven’t gone) to Hawaii because we couldn’t take our motor home.”

The most need they found in visiting all the states was in Louisiana with the poor living in small crates, they agreed.  She said she even took a hand at picking peaches while visiting in Yuba City. They have also visited Alaska and have gone down to Cabo San Lucas.

Donna had a bout with cancer and went through chemotherapy sessions to beat back the dreaded disease with radiation and her hair falling out.

They were square dancing with the Manteca Trailblazers, but the club died, they said.  Years ago it was going pretty strong, Doyle added.  Most RV ers are happy people, they agreed saying if you don’t like your neighbors you can just up and move, she chuckled.

Donna noted that people don’t have to have a motor home to experience the outstanding sites in the U.S.

“You can fly to a specific area and rent a motor home to enjoy the scenery – return it and fly home again,” she saod.

Those motor homes often have gas tanks holding 100 gallons that can be expensive, she added.

“It’s been 80 years and it hasn’t all been good.  Both my children have died.  I have Doyle’s son who treats me just like a mom,” she said smiling. 

Family is not about to let her birthday go by without some sort of celebration.  Her granddaughter is a baker and will be making her cake in a family setting with everyone enjoying hors d’ hoverers, and champagne.