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Turlock gives together
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Many different groups volunteered their time to make Turlock Together great this year including the Turlock Eagles 4-H Club (Photo contributed).

At no other time of year is Turlock’s giving spirit so evident.

On Saturday, the culmination of hundreds of volunteer hours and thousands of donated food items, toys and money was put to good use as the Turlock Together charity distributed its annual holiday food boxes and gifts for children.

This year, there were 1,200 sign-ups to receive assistance, including 256 senior citizens and 560 families who along with the food boxes, received toys for all children under 12.

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Boy Scout Troop 451 and 2451 helped deliver food boxes to senior citizens on Saturday (Photo contributed).

“We’re so thankful to the whole community stepping up…It really is reflective of the people of Turlock,” said Turlock Together organizer Jeff Lorenzi.

Lorenzi, who has been working with Turlock Together for the past 17-plus years, said that while donations were down this year, they had plenty of volunteers to help put everything together. Volunteers included three different 4-H clubs, church groups, Catholic men’s groups, a huge turnout of Boy Scouts and lots of high school groups.

Some local businesses donated food items — Foster Farms, Village Fresh, Gemperle Eggs, California Dairies and Hilmar Cheese — and the Central Valley Realtors’ annual CanTree event donation made it possible for Turlock Together to purchase more food items to make up the rest of the food boxes.

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Turlock Transit hosted a ‘Stuff the Bus’ event to gather toy donations (Photo contributed).

All those who sign-up for assistance received one box of nonperishable food items like pasta, canned vegetables, oatmeal and cereal and another box of perishable food items that included fresh fruit, cheese and eggs.

Megan Patterson, another longtime Turlock Together volunteer, coordinated the senior citizen food box deliveries this year.

“It’s so nice to give back to other people, especially during the holidays. Many people forget about seniors. So many of them cannot get around. So, to have somebody come out to them to give them the food is such a joy to them,” she said.

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Members of the All Saints University Parish helped pack 567 food boxes (Photo contributed).

Patterson and her volunteer crew made up of Boy Scout Troop 451, Scout Troup 2451, First United Methodist Church, the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary, Wayne York from Turlock Transit, Lissette Maunakea, Lee Koken and Steve Endsley, delivered food boxes to seven senior complexes in Turlock and one in Denair.