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Turkey drive short 933 birds with 3 weeks to go
Turkey drive pix
Scott McRitchie and Carla Strong have been active in the Riverbank community for many years volunteering and helping those in need. Donate a turkey, non-perishable food, or cash at the annual Turkey Drive on Patterson Road from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

Thanksgiving is just over three weeks away and the effort to make sure struggling families in Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop don’t go without a traditional meal is 933 turkeys short.

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 given 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 one frozen turkey donated — to supply 67 turkeys. That means the Turkeys R Us has 20 days to collect actual frozen turkeys or funds 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