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Turkey drive short 928 birds with less than 2 weeks to go
Foster Farms, located in Livingston, has been operating their Turkey Helpline for more than 20 years. - photo by Photo Contributed

The Turkeys R Us effort is 928 birds short with less than two weeks to go before the traditional main course is delivered to food closets in Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop in time for distribution before Thanksgiving to 1,000 struggling households.

In a bid to close the gap Doctors Hospital of Manteca is staging a turkey drive on Friday, Nov. 22, from 7 a.m. until noon in front of the hospital at 1205 East North Street. They will accept turkeys, canned food and monetary donations

The Turkeys R Us drive that has relied on community support to make sure no one has gone without a traditional Thanksgiving meal for the past 21 years needs 1,000 turkeys by Nov. 25 to make sure they are distributed to area food closets in time to be distributed to those in need for the holiday. An additional 1,000 turkeys or hams will also be needed for Christmas.

If there is a shortfall to provide Thanksgiving baskets the Second Harvest Food Bank will make sure those that requested food for the holiday will receive something even if it is hot dogs plus macaroni and cheese.

To date, the Turkeys Us Drive has enough funds — plus two frozen turkey donated — to supply 72 turkeys. That means the Turkeys R Us has 12 days to collect actual frozen turkeys or find to buy turkeys to help provide 933 families with traditional meals on Thanksgiving.

The community-based Turkeys R Us effort started 22 years ago when Realtors Sue Teunissen and Gail Fletcher read in the Manteca Bulletin the food bank was coming up short in its efforts to supply turkeys to local food closets as the main item in holiday food baskets for struggling families. They got other people in the Coldwell Banker Crossroads Real Estate office and friends to donate 40 turkeys and delivered them to the food bank.

They thought they had covered the need only to be told they were still 1,000 turkeys short.

Community members led by real estate agents as well as loan officers and title agents vowed not to let a holiday season go by without making sure everyone in the greater Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop community had a traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas meal.

Since then the community has delivered as Manteca has had 21 consecutive years of making sure all struggling families have a traditional holiday meal.

Frozen turkeys can be dropped off at Second Harvest Food Bank at 704 E. 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.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email