Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop are in one of the most productive agricultural regions the world has ever known but many who live here won’t share in that bounty on the holiday America traditionally gives thanks for a good harvest — Thanksgiving.
It was an irony that was not lost on Gail Fletcher and Sue Teunissen when they launched Turkeys R Us 21 years ago.
They did not want to sit down with a big Thanksgiving spread with their families knowing others in their community would be going without or may have to spend the day having hot dogs with macaroni and cheese as their main meal.
For the past 20 years, the community has shared the sentiment making sure that all of the holiday turkey needs for struggling families both Thanksgiving and Christmas are met.
This year, the need is less with 700 families signed up at food closets in Manteca, Ripon and Lathrop — meaning 1,400 turkeys are needed to cover both Thanksgiving and Christmas — plus another 200 needed for the free community Thanksgiving meal that feeds 1,700 every year in the three communities who may be living alone and have no one to share the holidays with or people on limited income who do not ask for food closet help.
With less than three weeks to go to Thanksgiving when 900 of the 1,600 turkeys are needed, the Turkeys R Us effort has enough frozen turkeys and cash donated as of Tuesday to provide 130 turkeys for Thanksgiving, leaving a shortfall of 770 turkeys for Thanksgiving. Donors added $575 and one frozen turkey to the effort on Tuesday.
Tuesday brought the cash donations to date to $1,840 in addition to eight donated frozen turkeys. Second Harvest Food Bank is able to buy turkeys for $15 each.
The first 900 turkeys are needed within 11 days to be able to distribute them in time for Thanksgiving.
Frozen turkeys can be dropped off at Second Harvest Food Bank at 1220 Vanderbilt Circle in Manteca Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monetary donations can be made online at www.localfoodbank.org or dropped off or at Second Harvest.
If you have questions contact the food bank at 239.2091.
There are a number of organizations and events that are collecting turkeys in the next 10 days for struggling families in Manteca, Lathrop, and Ripon.
Saturday, Nov. 16
DOCTORS HOPSITAL OF MANTECA: The hospital on North Street will collect frozen turkeys, cash, and food items from 7 a.m. to noon on Friday, Nov. 16, near the front entrance lobby.
Saturday, Nov. 17
CORE 209 WORKOUT: A special boot camp workout open to anyone of any ability starts promptly at 8:30 a.m. and lasts until 10 a.m. at Core 209 at 17960 Ideal Parkway east of Manteca off East Highway 120 on Saturday, Nov. 17. The fee is a frozen turkey or cash donation.
X-CEL CROSSFIT TURKEY THROWDOWN: The X-Cel Crossfit annual Turkey Throwdown is Saturday, Nov. 17, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Manteca Commerce Center off Moffat Boulevard. While the competition is for members only who will be donating turkeys the general public is invited to drop by and donate turkeys as well.
GROCERY OUTLET & KHOP RADIO: Grocery Outlet at Northwoods Drive and Yosemite Avenue is working with KHOP to collect turkeys and canned foods from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17.
STUFF THE BUS AT FOOD-4-LESS: Manteca Transit along with KWIN radio is conducting the Stuff the Bus with frozen turkeys and canned goods effort from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17, in front of Food 4 Less.
Sunday, Nov. 18
MANTECA FIREFIGHTERS ASSOCIATION: The Manteca Firefighters Association is conducting a frozen turkey drive in front of the Safeway next to Wal-Mart on South Main Street from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 18.
STUFF THE BUS AT FOOD-4-LESS: Manteca Transit along with KWIN radio is conducting the Stuff the Bus with frozen turkeys and canned goods effort from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 18, in front of Food 4 Less.
NORTHGATE LITTLE LEAGUE: The Northgate Little League is conducting a frozen turkey drive Sunday, Nov. 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the snack bar along Hoyt Lane behind Neil Halfley School.
SPRECKELS PARK LITTLE LEAGUE: The Spreckels Park Little League is conducting a frozen turkey drive on Sunday, Nov. 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Brock Elliott School.