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Turkey donation helps Turlock church provide Thanksgiving feasts for those in need
foster farms thanksgiving pic
Members of Enclave Community Church of Turlock distribute Thanksgiving food boxes to those in need. - photo by Photo Contributed

A large donation of turkeys from Foster Farms to the Second Harvest Food Bank will mean more holiday birds for struggling families in Turlock.

For the past several years Enclave Church has been involved with putting together boxes of food for those in need in the Turlock area with everything a family needs for a Thanksgiving feast — including a large turkey. Every year, the church asks Second Harvest Food Bank for the turkeys needed to fill each of the 250 food boxes distributed to families in the community.

Usually the food bank can only accommodate a portion of the church's turkey request, but this year Second Harvest is providing all 250 turkeys.

"I was ecstatic," said Kathy Takacs of Enclave Church of the food bank donation. "Turkeys are a huge expense. Not having to purchase those turkeys is wonderful."

While the turkey part of the holiday meal box is taken care of, members of the church are working hard to collect all the other food items. Grocery bags were distributed to homes across Turlock with a flyer attached explaining the food drive and items requested. The church members then pick up the filled grocery bags and bring them back to the church for sorting and packing. Members of the community wishing to donate food items can do so between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday at the church office, located at 581 E. Canal Dr. in Turlock.

Ten of the 250 food boxes are distributed to families at five local elementary schools and two high schools. The rest of the food boxes are given to families in need. The final day to sign-up to receive a Thanksgiving food box is Tuesday. Those wishing to receive a food box must come to the church between 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesday with identification, proof of income and proof of address. Turlock and Denair residents are able to sign-up for the holiday food donation. The Thanksgiving food boxes will be distributed Nov. 20 at the church.

Enclave is also able to help those unable to cook or looking for some holiday fellowship with a free dinner hosted at the church from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Members of the community can just show up for the meal — or to volunteer.

"We've been hosting a Thanksgiving Day dinner at church for over a decade," said Takacs. "We can always use volunteers, especially for clean-up and serving."

Foster Farms is also helping the church with the Thanksgiving Day meal by providing gift certificates to purchase turkeys at local stores.

The local poultry company isn't just helping Turlock families have more to eat this Thanksgiving. Foster Farms is donating a total of 67,000 pounds of turkey this holiday season, enough to serve more than 70,000 meals to people in need in California and the Pacific Northwest. The company is also supporting hunger relief efforts as the title sponsor of the Foster Farms Bowl in December, which partners with local food banks.

"There are too many people in the communities we serve who go hungry," said Foster Farms Director of Communications Ira Brill. "Helping those in need is a year-round priority for Foster Farms. We hope that our holiday donations will encourage other businesses and individuals to support these food banks and ultimately, the families they serve. Everyone deserves the comfort of a traditional Thanksgiving meal."

The 11,000-pound turkey donation to Second Harvest Food Bank in Manteca was just a part of the 67,000 pounds of turkey that Foster Farms will donate this holiday season.

"We are grateful for the longtime support of Foster Farms," said Second Harvest CEO Mike Mallory. "Every year, the company helps to ensure that our local families can enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Protein donations are so valuable and really essential to our ability to provide nutritious foods to the families who rely our services – especially around the holidays."