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Turkeys R Us struggling this year with only $30 donated
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It’s turning into a daunting task

With only $30 donated to date, Turkeys R Us organizers have 22 days to raise $19,470 to order turkeys to make sure 1,300 families in Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop hit hard by the sluggish economy will have a traditional turkey dinner for Thanksgiving.

Turkeys R Us – working through Second Harvest Food Bank – supplies the main course for Thanksgiving and Christmas each year to the various food closets serving the three communities. To cover both holidays for the 1,300 families, the group needs to collect almost $40,000.

They haven’t failed to put a turkey on the table of struggling families in the three communities for the past 11 years. This year, though, is much more of a challenge with unemployment in Manteca at 13.5 percent – almost 40 percent higher than what it was a year ago.

Sue Teunissen, who has helped spearhead the effort for the past 12 years, said she couldn’t enjoy setting down to a bountiful meal and offering blessings for her family’s spread knowing that someone in the community would not be doing the same due to the economy.

With this year’s high unemployment organizers expect many people who dug into their pockets last year to need help this year especially construction workers.

“We had people who work construction who came in and gave us $50 out of their pocket,” Tuenissen said. “With the way things are going in construction, they may be the ones needing help now.”

There are also a number of struggling families who may still have jobs but are underemployed or simply doing everything they can to make ends meet such as single moms as well as elderly on limited income.

Small donations $25, S10, and $5 constitute the bulk of Turkeys R Us donations.

“There are sometimes elderly on fixed incomes that come in and give us $5,” noted Second Harvest Executive Director Mike Mallory. “That $5 to them is like $100 to most people.

Organizers noted that ways that some people have told them they set aside money for the Turkeys R Us effort include:
•putting aside pocket change.
•skipping a Starbucks coffee once a week to come up with $15.

A number of people take the free turkeys they get for buying a set amount of food at supermarkets during the holidays and donate that to the effort.

Donations (make checks out to Turkeys R Us) can be dropped off at Coldwell Banker Crossroads offices at 319 Main Street near North Street in Manteca or 15810 S. Harlan Road in Lathrop or the Second Harvest Food Bank, 704 E. Industrial Park Drive in Manteca.

If you want to donate a frozen turkey or ham, take it directly to the food bank
For more information contact Crossroads Real Estate at 823-8141 or the food bank at 239-2091.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail