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Community efforts save Christmas Day celebration
AAA, Turlock City Tow deliver 168 pounds of turkey
Salvation Army
Jeremy Madruga unloads boxes from the AAA Turlock City Tow truck as Dorothy Walker, Mark Poeschl, and two members of the Salvation Army help situate them on the trolley. - photo by BROOKE BORBA / The Journal

The Salvation Army and Turlock Together have tried everything they can this year to ensure that every family in need will receive a Christmas dinner. Along with putting together food baskets for 2,000 families and supplying 6,000 presents to low-income children, the organizations are also provide a free community dinner on Christmas Day for roughly 750 people at the Salvation Army Gymnasium.

On Thursday morning, AAA and Turlock City Tow made a whopping turkey delivery ensuring a holiday feast for all on Christmas Day. Turlock’s Salvation Army received a visit from AAA Business Manager Mark Poeschl and Turlock City Tow Service owner Jeremy Madruga. Both men teamed up to offer their services, and were able to deliver 168 pounds of turkey that will be used on Christmas Day.

“I know that they are hoping to feed 750 people on Christmas. We are hoping that the 168 pounds will feed just about the whole group,” Poeschl said.

Madruga said he was proud to support the community, and is happy to be teamed up with AAA in delivering the turkey roast.

“We are here to help people out. During these holidays, it is important to remember our families and the troops,” Madruga said. “It is an important time of the year.”

Christmas dinner coordinator Dorothy Walker felt that without the community support, many families would be left with an empty stomach and a void in their holiday season.

“We depend on the community to help support us. The people who donated, either food products or money to our organization, is what makes this thing happen. It is a total community effort with the churches helping to cook the food and the families coming to serve the guests,” Walker said.

Turlock’s Salvation Army has been providing families a Christmas meal since 2000. This year, the organization is also providing classroom supplies as gifts for the children and is offering its facilities as activity rooms to play in. Santa will also be present to take pictures with the kids.

Last year, the event fed 550 families. Since the target goal is to feed roughly over 700 families, Walker is hopeful that enough families will get their proper ration of food for their holiday meal.

“It’s loaves and fishes every year,” she said.

What really amazes Walker is the intense community involvement that she is pleased to see.

“It is a blessing from the community that everyone participates. The high schoolers are coming in to help with the Santa games this year. The Boy Scouts every year set up the tables and chairs, and we even have table captains so that the [families] don’t have to get out of their seats to serve themselves. They are our guests,” Walker said.

To  volunteer to help serve at the Christmas meal or supervise children's activities, call 667-6091.