With Thanksgiving less than a week away, local charities have been handing out boxes of food and preparing for a community dinner.
Turlock’s Salvation Army Corps distributed 300 turkeys and boxes of Thanksgiving food this week as part of a special donation program.
According to Capt. Katie Breazeale, the Turlock Corps received the turkeys and food boxes from the Salvation Army in Modesto. What had been planned as a three-day event quickly shrunk to a day and a few hours.
“On the first day, we lost 280 [food boxes] then the rest Thursday morning,” Breazeale said.
The Corps knew the donations of turkeys and boxes of food would go quickly and did not advertise it on social media, but relied on word of mouth.
“We are definitely seeing an increase [in need],” she says. “A lot of people still haven’t been able to get back on their feet after COVID and prices rising with inflation.”
The Salvation Army regularly distributes emergency food boxes. Due to high demand and rising food costs, families are only allowed to receive a box of Salvation Army food once every three months instead of once. once a month as was the case in previous years.
The United Samaritans Foundation also regularly distributes food boxes. This month, food boxes will be distributed from 9 a.m. to noon on November 22 and 29. USF will also distribute turkeys from 1 to 3 p.m. on November 22, but individuals or families must register in advance to receive a turkey. Anyone wishing to receive a food box or turkey must present valid ID and proof of address, such as an electricity bill. USF is located at 220 S. Broadway.
The Turlock Gospel Mission is once again inviting the community to a free Thanksgiving meal and hopes volunteers will help make the holiday event possible.
The meal will be served at 11:30 a.m., with turkey sandwiches then served as take-out. There are volunteer opportunities starting Monday with food preparation. On Tuesday the volunteers will start roasting the turkeys and baking all the pies. Wednesday is designated as the day of accompanying and finishing the turkeys. During the holidays, volunteers are needed for event organization, meal service and support, cleaning, and preparing take-out turkey sandwiches.
TGM also still needs some food items.
“This year we are starting food donations a little slower,” said TGM CEO Christian Curby.
The list of items still needed includes: 50 pounds of potatoes, 50 pounds of sweet potatoes, stuffing, French cut green beans, cream of mushroom soup, cranberry sauce, chicken broth, milk, sliced bread, cream, sugar, brown sugar, butter, ziplock sandwich bags, 8 oz and 12 oz paper or foam hot cups, large party disposable plates, coffee, hot cocoa mix and bottled water.
Donations of food and items must be dropped off at TGM by Tuesday. To register as an event volunteer, call 209-656-1033. TGM also offers winter clothing at dinner. Donations of coats, hats and gloves will be accepted until Wednesday. However, the mission doesn’t need socks, as Walnut Elementary School again donated 1,000 socks as part of their Sock-tober event.
The mission is seeing an increase in the number of families needing help at this time of year.
“We’re definitely seeing an increase in working poor families needing Thanksgiving help and we’re also seeing a lot of families needing housing due to evictions,” Curby said.
The gospel mission is located at 432 S. Broadway.
The annual community-wide Christmas charity, Turlock Together, is also looking for volunteers and donations. The iconic blue barrels will make their way to businesses and organizations across the city for residents to donate new toys and non-perishable food items. The food toys will be sorted and distributed to families in need on December 17.
Local families in need have until November 30 to sign up to receive a box of holiday food and toys for children 10 and under. Registration is at the Salvation Army office in Turlock from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. From Monday to Friday. Registrants must bring photo ID, proof of address, and medical cards with date of birth or birth certificates for all children 10 and under.
Community organizations, families, students and individuals are needed to help with toy and food sorting and distribution.
To help Santa organize the toys, call Manuel Drummond at 209-988-3656. For help sorting food and packing it in the warehouse, call Jeff Lorenzi at 209-620-6608. To help with distribution on December 17, call Lissette Maunakea at 209-669-5366 x1101.
Turlock Together and Turlock Transit team up to fill the bus with toys on December 9. Donations of new and unboxed toys, games and sports equipment will be collected from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Roger K. Fall Transit Center at the corner of W. Hawkeye Avenue and N. Golden State Boulevard. All toys will be donated to Turlock Together.