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For 22nd straight year Mantecans share blessings with neighbors
Foster Farms, located in Livingston, has been operating their Turkey Helpline for more than 20 years. - photo by Photo Contributed

Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop residents have made sure that none of their neighbors will go without a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

A blitz of turkey drives over the weekend generated 645 birds guaranteeing Turkeys R Us could meet all Thanksgiving meal request deliveries to area food closets on Monday. There were 1,000 turkeys distributed including 190 that the Manteca Rotary and Sunrise Kiwanis are using Thursday to feed more than 2,000 people during the 10th annual community Thanksgiving dinner.  The free dinner is being served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Mt. Mike’s Pizza at Louise Avenue and Main Street in Manteca.

This marks the 22nd year that Manteca has made sure traditional meals are available for families that are struggling. Requests for help at food closets spike during the holidays and in January due to households that have been able to stay on top of bills being hit with increases in heating costs, the loss of seasonal work, and the added costs of the holidays. 

Although the population in the three cities has increased by more than 20,000 to a combined 127,000, during the same time those helped by the Turkeys R Us Drive has dropped from 1,700 down to 1,000 thanks to the improving economy.

“This is a caring community that has made sure that all families can sit down to a traditional Thanksgiving meal,” noted Jessica Vaughn who is coordinating the effort.

Turkeys R Us are now concentrating on providing Christmas meals for those requesting help through food closets in Manteca, Lathrop, and Ripon.

There is a need for 1,000 turkeys or hams. They are starting the Christmas drive with 44 turkeys on hand.

Frozen turkeys are being accepted as well as cash. A $15 donation buys one family a turkey while a $10 donation buys one family a ham. Struggling families will receive either a ham or a turkey for Christmas.

The two-day Fill the Bus at Food 4 Less conducted by Manteca Transit yielded 321 turkeys. The CrossFit Excel endeavor generated 144 turkeys and the Manteca Firefighters Association drive outside of Safeway netted 96 turkeys. Core 209 collected 25 turkeys, Doctors Hospital of Manteca 22 turkeys, and Spreckels Little League 15 turkeys.

Frozen turkeys or hams for Christmas can be dropped off at Second Harvest Food Bank at 1220 Vanderbilt Circle off of  Industrial Park Drive in Manteca Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Money donations can be made online at or dropped off or at Second Harvest. If you have questions contact the food bank at 239.2091.