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Turkeys R Us drive now short 421 turkeys
Amy from AAA delivers 20 turkeys on behalf of the Manteca office. - photo by Photo Contributed

Just how big of a deal is the donation of $12 to buy a turkey for a struggling family?

Up until the Turkeys R Us drive was launched 17 years ago, families turning to Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop food banks for help with Thanksgiving and Christmas meals often than not got cereal, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, and canned goods but no turkeys and traditional holiday meal trimmings.

How important food is to some kids is underscored when the Manteca Police Officers Association fulfill wishes of boys and girls who are part of financially struggling families. They almost always ask for food — not candy — but food. The lists are laden with requests for underwear and warm clothes. Very few ask for toys.

Turkeys R Us will provide 950 straggling families in the three communities accessing 12 food banks the main course for both Thanksgiving and Christmas if they meet their goal of 1,900 turkeys.

The Turkeys R Us drive has collected enough so far to distribute 1,479 turkeys for struggling families in Manteca, Lathrop, and Ripon for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

On Friday, the effort received $1,599 in cash and 35 frozen turkeys. That leaves the 17th annual drive short 421 turkeys. Turkeys R Us is able to buy frozen turkeys for $12 each. 

The list of recipients run the gamut from families who have been living paycheck to paycheck and are barely keeping afloat who don’t see food assistance except at the holidays, to struggling families headed by single moms, seniors on fixed income, families where the head of household has lost jobs or that have suffered serve cutbacks in hours or pay, and families dealing with a major financial crisis triggered by health issues.

Frozen turkeys can be taken to Second Harvest at 704 E. Industrial Park Drive in Manteca Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monetary donations can be made online at or dropped off or mailed to Second Harvest, Coldwell Banker 319 N. Main St. Manteca, or Beacon Realty 211 E. Center St. Manteca .