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Can Tree gearing up for season of giving
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Santa hears the Christmas wish of one boy during the 2011 Can Tree Breakfast. Proceeds from the breakfast go towards holiday food baskets for those in need. - photo by Photo Contributed

As the season of giving arrives in the coming weeks the Turlock Christmas Can Tree Project begins its quest to help feed thousands of needy area citizens over the holidays.

Can Tree is part of a three pronged approach to fighting hunger during the holidays, which includes the Salvation Army and Turlock Together.

Since 1982 local realtor groups volunteer their time and talents to hold annual fundraising efforts to raise money for holiday food baskets. The food baskets are designed to feed a family of four for up to two weeks with the emphasis being placed on the amount of time children typically spend out of school for Christmas vacation.

According to local realtor and Can Tree volunteer Lloyd Blackman, nearly 2,000 boxes were distributed last year.

“We’ve been fortunate to have such a wonderful outpouring of support from the community. We live here and we understand how important this food can be for many people, especially in this economy, we are seeing an increased demand from seniors,” said Blackman.

Families in need are identified by the Turlock Salvation Army and Turlock Together organizes the manpower for basket distribution – which also includes toys for children.

 Each year Can Tree purchases approximately 70 percent of the food items included in baskets. The other 30 percent is donated by community members who place canned foods in blue barrels located at various places in town. Additionally, local businesses like Hilmar Cheese, Gemperle Farms or Foster Farms have donated bulk amounts of protein-rich foods. Last year Can Tree raised more than $27,000 through a silent and live auction and raffle held during a breakfast. This year’s breakfast will be held 7:30 a.m. Dec. 5 at the War Memorial at 247 E. Canal Dr. Tickets are available for $5.

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