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Mayor hopeful jump starts Turkeys R Us campaign
Debby Moorhead, bottom, made the first donation of $125 to this year’s Turkeys R Us campaign. Accepting the check is Turkeys R Us volunteer LeAnn McNabb. - photo by DENNIS WYATT
Debby Moorhead says there is something more important than winning the mayor’s race on Nov. 2 and that’s taking care of Manteca residents in need.

The mayor hopeful took $125 out of her campaign to jump start the 2010 Turkeys R Us effort to raise $35,000 to provide turkeys for 2,700 families in Manteca, Lathrop, and Ripon for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. The campaign is in its 13th year and has met the need for the past 12 years without fail. Organizers fear this year will be much tougher due to a spike in turkey prices that are now running $1.49 a pound as opposed to 65 cents a pound last year as well as a higher need as the jobless state is higher than in 2009 plus more people have reduced hours.

“Making sure people don’t go hungry is more important than an election,” Moorhead said, noting she’d rather see some of her remaining campaign funds going to help people than simply buying more signs.

Moorhead said she hopes others in the community - including fellow candidates will be able to help Turkeys R Us.

She added that it isn’t unusual to get people calling the Manteca Chamber of Commerce where she serves as chief executive officer to ask whether they secure food for their family.

Moorhead pointed out the need is also great at Christmas as well as year-round.

Food-4-Less has stepped up by teaming with the San Joaquin Regional Transit District to park a bus to challenge people to “stuff it with food” on Nov. 11, 12 and 13 with the donations being distributed to Manteca food closets.

 Forty-one agencies in the three communities ranging from small church efforts to larger undertakings such as St. Anthony’s St. Vincent de Paul Society and Cornerstone rely on the Turkeys R Us drive to provide the main course for holiday meal boxes.

Demands on food closets skyrocket during the holidays as many families that have avoided asking for help do so due to the holidays. Most of the benefactors of the free turkeys are single working moms, families that have lost one breadwinner or had income reduced due to cutbacks in hours, the recently unemployed, those on disability and the elderly on fixed incomes.

Turkeys R Us have essentially a month in order to place an order for turkeys, to take delivery, and get them distributed to the food banks in time for Thanksgiving.

Mallory said what Manteca does every year is extremely unusual for a community its size.

If you can assist Turkeys R Us, contact Coldwell Banker Crossroads Real Estate at 823-8141.