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Turkeys R Us reaches goal of 2,900 turkeys
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Mike Mallory is impressed.

Despite unemployment at 13.4 percent and Manteca being at the epicenter of one of the worst regions in the nation for foreclosures, the community came through with donations to make sure 2,900 struggling families in Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop didn’t go without on Thanksgiving.

“It’s great how the community came through in tough times to help feed others,” Mallory, who is the executive director of the Second Harvest Food Bank, said.”There is a need 365 days a year but it becomes more acute during the holidays.”

An average Thanksgiving turkey can provide at least three meals for the typical family, Mallory noted.

The last of the turkeys were delivered Tuesday to food closets serving the communities for distribution.

There were even a few turkeys left over to give the Turkeys R Us a head start to meeting the need for Christmas. That need isn’t quite as high with the number expected to be around 1,800. In addition, to stretch what dollars are donated farther, Turkeys R s will mix in hams with the turkeys.

Real estate agents SueTeunissen and Gail Fletcher launched Turkeys R Us 14 years ago after reading in the Manteca Bulletin that families in Manteca would go without a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Both thought that was wrong given they’d be celebrating with bountiful food with their families and friends on the day of thanks. So they asked around the office and asked friends for donations allowing them to buy 40 turkeys.

They took them to the food bank thinking they’d met the need only to be told it was a great help but local food closets were still 1,000 turkeys short. They were shocked to find out that there were that many struggling families in Manteca, Lathrop, and Ripon. After that year, they decided no one should go without if they can help it.

So far Turkeys R US has met the need for 13 consecutive years.

If you can assist Turkeys R Us to provide the main course for Christmas meals, contact Coldwell Banker Crossroads (North and North Main Street in Manteca) at 823-8141. You can also call LeAnn McNabb at 815-6754, Teunissen at 483-3365, or the second Harvest Food Bank at 239-2091.

If you have an actual turkey you’d like to donate, you can take it directly to the Second Harvest Food bank on Industrial Park Drive near the branch post office and indicate it is for Turkeys R Us. The drop-off can be done Monday through Friday before 4:30 p.m.