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It was a day of thanks for Manteca families
Chris Jackson breaks away with a football while a family member gives chase on Thanksgiving during a family outing. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
Shawn Jackson knows that he has a lot to be thankful for.

Thursday afternoon he joined his family at Woodward Park for an afternoon that included the traditional Thanksgiving game of football as well as some baked goodies that everybody enjoyed together. They were taking advantage of the unusually temperate outdoor climate.

While many this Thanksgiving have been assisted by community outreach efforts through organizations like Second Harvest Food Bank and local churches, Jackson says he knows that a lot of people are far from secure in their daily lives – hoping that a day spent with family is enough to lift the spirits of those facing or enduring tough times.

“It’s really a day where you’re supposed to reflect on what you have and what you’re thankful to have,” Jackson said. “I still have my health and my family and that’s pretty much all that you can ask for.

“There are a lot of people out there that would just like to not have to worry about where they are going to get their next meal.”

Even when the economy was thriving in Manteca the annual turnout at massive community dinners organized by local church groups – such as those that Paul Narcisse and his Second Chance Ministries would sponsor twice each year – was enormous.

Knowing that all of that need existed when people were supposedly doing well, Jackson said, could only mean that there are just as many people out there now that aren’t getting the help that they need. The current economic situation has washed out many of the non-profits that would strive to fill those gaps.

But at the end of the day, he said, being with family and friends is reason enough to be happy.

“These are the moments that we often don’t get enough of,” Jackson said. “You work more so that you can provide but you miss out on opportunities like this. It’s a good reason to slow down and appreciate it while it lasts.”