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The challenge: 1,850 turkeys in 19 days
Second Harvest Food Banks Nicole Segura holds one of the few turkeys on hand for Thanksgiving. With just 23 days to go, Turkeys R Us are short 1,783 turkeys. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

In 23 days, most families in Manteca, Lathrop, and Ripon will be sitting down to a turkey meal with all the trimming in a national celebration of thanks for the blessing of bountiful harvests.
That won’t be the case for 1,850 of our neighboring families.
Struggling with rising rents, employment hammered by the shifting economy, long-term disability, a major medical catastrophe or — like a number of older people — locked into survival mode by being able to rely only on Social Security, Thanksgiving won’t mean turkey, stuffing, potatoes and apple pie.
They will likely have a holiday meal relying on staples they can afford typically things such as macaroni and cheese or “low end” meat such as hot dogs as the main dish.
That’s the reality painted by the 14 food closets that serve Manteca, Lathrop, and Ripon. And while the rear-round need isn’t typically 1,850 families, the need goes up as the holidays approach as warm weather employment in construction and agriculture drops off and heating bills rise.
It is against that backdrop that Turkeys R Us are seeking to raise $27,750 to make sure no household in Manteca, Lathrop or Ripon goes without a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Since the turkeys have to be purchased and distributed to food banks, that leaves only 19 days to generate either the funds or turkeys.
The community-based Turkeys R Us effort — now in its 19th year — has an unbroken string of 17 years of making sure that Thanksgiving is truly a universal celebration in the three communities.
They have $1,000 on hand, or enough to buy 67 turkeys.
Donations of either turkeys or money can be dropped off to the Second Harvest Food Bank that is helping coordinate the effort. The food bank is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 704 Industrial Park Drive in Manteca, phone (209) 239.2091.
Check donations are also being accepted at Coldwell Banker Crossroads Real Estate at 250 Cherry Lane in Manteca, (209) 823-8141 or  LeAnne McNabb with Beacon Real Estate, 211 E. Center St., Suite 5, (209), 815.6754.
Three events are also planned the week before Thanksgiving where people can drop off turkeys and non-perishable food goods to help plug an expected shortfall. They are:
uThe Manteca Transit Stuff the Bus on Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 19-20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Food-4-Less on Spreckels Avenue.
uThe Manteca Firefighters Association on Sunday, Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Safeway store on South Main Street.
uNorthgate Little League on Sunday, Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the league’s snack bar on Hoyt Lane behind Neil Hafley School.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email