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Turkeys R Us efforts cover Manteca needs
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Mike Mallory believes it is Manteca’s own Christmas miracle.

For the 11th straight Christmas no struggling family that has made their needs known in advance to the nearly three dozen food closets serving Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop will go without a holiday turkey or ham.

The same unfortunately can’t be said for Modesto, Stockton and other Northern San Joaquin Valley communities.

Mallory - the executive director of the Second Harvest Food Bank that serves as a distribution operation to supply food closets in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties as well as part of the Gold Country - works with the Turkeys R Us effort in Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop to make sure the South County need is covered. This year roughly 1,500 families in the three South County communities had their Thanksgiving and Christmas meal needs met by donations primarily generated from Manteca individuals, organizations, and businesses.

Other regions that the food bank assists didn’t have the community step up as they did in Manteca. Stanislaus County is at least 800 turkeys short while San Joaquin County - excluding Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop - are 1,000 turkeys short. Mallory hopes to get 200 donations of turkeys or hams before Friday to reduce the number of families elsewhere in San Joaquin County going without this Christmas.

Mallory has indicated that it is extremely rare for a community to cover the needs of others each year for 11 straight years at the holidays. The need was greater this year due to cutbacks in hours and a 14.4 percent unemployment rate.

Mallory said anyone who would like to donate hams or turkeys for distribution elsewhere in San Joaquin County may do so by taking it directly to the Second Harvest Food Bank on Industrial Park Drive near the branch post office. The drop-off can be done Monday through Friday before 4:30 p.m.

For more information call 239-2091.