It was going to be a very lonely Thanksgiving for Erin Tyner.
On top of not having any family to visit, the 62-year-old just recently had to put her dog down.
So when she learned that a group of Manteca service clubs and volunteers were offering a community dinner at Mountain Mike’s Pizza, she was one of the first in line.
“I think that this is just such a blessing,” Tyner said. “I’m all by myself. I have no kids and my parents are gone, and without this I’d be eating a bowl of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. And after I had to put my dog down, this is a chance to get out of the house. I think that it’s a big help to people like me.
“I get to eat turkey today.”
For the fifth time in as many years, the community dinner – a joint venture between the Manteca Rotary, the Sunrise Kiwanis and other local service clubs and groups including the Manteca Police Department and Soroptimist International of Manteca – provided people like Tyner with a place to go on a day that’s traditionally all about family.
The willingness to serve others, however, wasn’t confined to just the major service clubs.
While most of her classmates were still sleeping or enjoying the time off of school, Sumanpreet Kaur was helping prepare takeout meals for people who wanted to take their Thanksgiving dinner home rather than eat it at the restaurant.
As part of Sierra High School’s Interact Club, a service organization affiliated with Rotary International, Kaur said she has developed an appreciation for doing for others even if it means sacrificing a little bit of a holiday morning.
“I really like helping people and doing what I can to make people happy,” she said. “This is something that helps the homeless and the less fortunate and the people that are alone today, so I’m happy to do anything that I can.”
Churches also did what they could to help.
New Hope youth pastor Tyler Etter helped oversee a small crew of volunteers who worked to deliver meals to the homebound, and said that seeing so many service groups, businesses and volunteers was a great representation of the community and its dedication to helping those that need it.
“I think that it’s so cool to see businesses and groups like this coming together to help people,” Etter said. “We just want to join in and help out wherever we can. You look and you see all of these service groups and the police and the firefighters and they’re all working together – it’s great to see and I think that it says a lot.”