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Thankful Mantecans
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(While I may be the captain of the ship that is Manteca to a T, I often find it is best to hand the wheel over to a reader, in order to most adequately sail certain subjects. This week first mate Jessica (Donges) Vaughan steers us through Thanksgiving and what it means....)

Thanksgiving takes on a completely different meaning when you work in a food bank. There are still the notions of a quaint family holiday with shared memories and amazing dishes. But beyond the normal holiday trimmings is another layer. There are families, seniors and others that struggle with food insecurity.  These families are unable to put a normal meal on the table let alone a Thanksgiving meal. That is where the true magic of Thanksgiving comes into play.
We invite people to come into the Food Bank during the holidays to witness the generosity of our community at large. Whether it is Turkeys R Us that has been collecting monetary donations for the last 19 years, or Foster Farms kicking off the frozen turkey drive with a donation of 700 turkeys, or one of the countless people that come in to drop off a bird and share their story — nothing like a good frozen turkey to keep your day going in the right direction. Turkey time is the best time to work in a food bank, people with donations are often greeted with bells, maracas, and silly dances as we show our appreciation. Each turkey donated is another Thanksgiving memory that has a chance to be made. Our warehouse staff is often times overwhelmed by the amount of canned goods they are picking up at our food drives and grocery partners.
Volunteers during this time are needed more than ever to help sort the food donations so that we can distribute them back to our pantry partners. Exciting is the mom that taught her three small children the importance of saving, spending, and donating. Hearing a three year old little boy tell you that he is giving birthday money because “people don’t have food to eat” would melt even the coldest soul’s heart. The older gentleman that brings us a meal for two each month and always makes sure the food is holiday appropriate because at one time he and his wife needed help and they are finally in a position to give back. One after another as the bells ring and the dancing continues; Manteca once again shows us why they truly are the family city. Come down drop a bird, and leave with a full heart and a huge smile.

Happy Thanksgiving
(Second Harvest Food Bank)
Not sure where to donate during the weekend? Visit our friends at the following locations:
uFriday, Saturday, &-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Manteca Transit and KWIN present Stuff the Bus at Food 4 Less in Manteca.
uSaturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Manteca Firefighters will host their annual food drive at Safeway in Manteca
uSunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Northgate Little League Athletes with Purpose will host their annual Turkey Drive on Hoyt Ln at the Snack Shack

Readers’ offer their
Thanksgiving memories
Michelle Jimenez:  My baby girl was born Thanksgiving day 2005 after I promised my husband there was NO way possible the baby and I were going to “interrupt” his beloved football watching! Whoops! She was due the second week in December but she decided she wanted to be born on Thanksgiving! What a wonderful memory! Every year our lil’ turkey gets a special “birthday” cake on Thanksgiving Day!

uBarbara Taylor Meyer: We were eating dessert after dinner and heard a crash in the kitchen. Our dog had pulled the turkey and platter off the kitchen table onto the floor.

uMichael Junqueiro: One year my brothers and I pissed our parents off so bad, they went to Vegas and said “Do what you want, we are out!”

uLaurie Cappawana: When I was first married we were stationed far from our families. My husband would always bring home people who did not get leave to go celebrate with their families. I always called them “The Strays.” The tradition has continued over the years. My kids invite friends. Always thankful for having family and friends.

uHeather Pezzementi Waligora: My parents had an awesome idea to have my tonsils and adenoids removed 2 days before Thanksgiving when I was 12. Oh and we moved to Manteca on that same Thanksgiving Day, so dinner was at Lyon’s! We moved from Tracy — so at least there was something to be thankful for.

uKat Bowers: First turkey dinner I made for the new mother-in-law (who hated me for “taking him away”) she was upset that I followed tradition and wouldn’t cook the turkey in beer like she wanted to...of course she and my EX then drank the beer. ALL 24 cans between 10 and 2! So I made the whole dinner by myself and was placing the last dish of potatoes beside the stove and only needed to finish cutting the turkey when she grabbed the electric knife — while it was going — and splattered blood over everything. She needed 11 stitches and we spent Thanksgiving in the ER. Turkey, potatoes, veggies!!! RUINED! Covered in blood and finger parts..!! —  totally had to trash it all! HE spent the whole afternoon outside smoking and complaining that there was no more beer!!! (Listen up!!! There WAS reason to be thankful here!)

uCarolyn Cano: My dad’s birthday lands on turkey day.....he will be 90 this year on that day!!!

uJudes Day: My first turkey was a fluke. We expected about 6 guests. I woke up with a pounding headache. My brother and mother were really sick. Turns out our heater in the bedroom area had cracked. So I did the turkey running back and forth from bathroom to kitchen. It turned out wonderful. That day I truly understood that I was thankful we didn’t all pass in the night.

uDenise M. Martinez: I spent a Thanksgiving with friends in Tahoe when I was 18. I also went to the Casino using my friend’s ID. I was Kiyoko Martinez that week and enjoyed all the shenanigans. Thank god we had our friend that had grown up in Georgia, because none of us could cook. My friend Michele with from Georgia made mashed potatoes that were so delicious we licked the bowl. Southern cooking is soooo good! P.S. I don’t look Japanese/Mexican

uBronwyn Steves: For many years, the Steves’ family used the MRPS dance hall and bar area for our Thanksgivings. All of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and second cousins would meet at the hall. Each family was assigned a different food dish to bring, but Grandma Steves always made the turkey and the stuffing. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized how awesome it was that our family had the hall for Thanksgiving. While we (the kids) were only supposed to use the big hall, we would invariably “venture” beyond our boundaries. Our goal was normally singular, “to go where no kid has gone before” and of course, find the wax for the dance floor so we could have sliding contests. We would always have a football game on the dance floor and my Aunt Betty would provide half-time entertainment with her baton (she still has skills and never had one lesson.). One year someone got the grand idea to put the floor wax on the floor prior to the football game. Needless to say, it was a bloody Thursday. The MRPS big hall has a distinct smell. Anyone who has been there year after year knows what I mean. The smell of that hall mixed with the smells of Thanksgiving is etched in my memory. Every time I am in that hall, it takes me back to my childhood. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

uLisa Marie Picarello: My parents will love that I shared this. When I was 13 I gave myself 2 tattoos, one being an “L” on my hand right under my thumb. Cue Thanksgiving dinner, my mom sees it and silently does the good o’l mom trick of spit wipe to get it off. Needless to say, it didn’t come off. With a swift silent grab to  pull me away from the table to investigate, only to find out it was real, I will just say it is a Thanksgiving I won’t forget.

uShondra Tipton: When we were kids, my Grandma brought her elderly church lady friend to our home for Thanksgiving. What she didn’t know, was my Uncle had rigged the toilet with that talking joke box that is set off when someone sits on the toilet. Grandma had to help the elderly lady to the restroom, and when the lady sat, a loud voice yelled “Hey! I’m working down here! Who turned out the lights!” And then every fart noise imaginable. Grandma said the lady just sat there frozen, and staring at the door. Lol Good times.

uFrom the mouths of comics.: Comic Rudy Ortiz: The other night I was trying to entertain my 6-year-old goddaughter with a puppet show. We were having a good time when she says, “Nino, can you tell me a joke?” I quickly came up with a brilliant riddle.

“Ok, what do you call a duck who wins the lottery?”
“A lucky ducky!”
She nodded her head and smiled.
“Ok, now tell me a funny one.”

 Moral of the story: you  have to be ready for anything.
Also, bombing in front of a 6-year-old and her 3-year-old sister, damages the ego more than you would think.
Congrats to Manteca’s James Greer. This last weekend James was asked to sing the National Anthem by the Oakland Raiders game, and during the Veterans Day weekend game against Minnesota. Greer an East Union grad, is a Navy Veteran – serving from 1996 to 1999. Congrats James!

     “It’s not Where ya do, It’s What ya do”