By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Turlock Together preps for busy holiday season
turlock together 1
A member of the Turlock Eagles 4-H club collects food items outside a local grocery store for Turlock Together (Photo contributed).

Community members and local organizations are once again joining forces to bring holiday joy to those across the city.

Turlock Together, a volunteer cooperation of ministries, businesses, non-profits, schools, service clubs and community members working together to collect and distribute food and toys to families in need during the holidays, is in the process of sorting and packaging food boxes ahead of their scheduled Dec. 16 distribution day.

Turlock Together 2
Ana Machado , Filomena Sousa , Vivian and Olivia donate toys to Turlock Together (Photo contributed).

Last year, there were approximately 1,200 individuals who signed up through the Salvation Army Turlock Corps. to receive assistance. Longtime organizer Jeff Lorenzi shared that they are expecting to match that number this year.

Despite the high demand, Lorenzi has most of his volunteers for the season lined up.

“People are always very enthusiastic about helping and giving back,” he said. “We're signed up pretty well on volunteers already. I get some of the groups actually start calling almost by mid-October trying to sign up early. It's amazing.”

The folks at Turlock Together encourage community members to keep checking in regarding volunteer work.

“Some groups have to leave a bit early, or sometimes there is more work on one day than we expected, and I find myself wishing we had three or four more bodies to help us out, so we never know,” Lorenzi said. 

Those interested can call Lorenzi at (209) 620-6608. Volunteers will work at the Turlock Together warehouse on the grounds of the Turlock Fruit Company at 500 S. Tully Rd. and will be required to be able to lift, stand and work outdoors. Volunteers should wear warm clothing and tennis shoes or boots. Dates for warehouse help are Dec. 4 through 18 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Distribution day will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 16.

Local businesses that have donated items this year include Village Fresh, Gemperle Eggs and Hilmar Cheese. All three have been supporters of Turlock Together for numerous years. This year, though, volunteers will be using donated funds to purchase chickens so that all families can have similar meals this winter and to ensure that one family is not receiving less than another. The Central Valley Realtors’ annual donation breakfast on Dec. 6 will also help the organization purchase more food items. Donations from the community will be accepted through checks made out to United Samaritans and with Turlock Together listed in the memo section.

While volunteers from 4-H clubs, church groups, Boy Scouts, high school clubs and other community organizations will be packaging this year’s boxes on Dec. 12 and 13, Lorenzi explained that there is work done year-round to ensure that families in need are fed, not just in the winter time.

“The truthful part is that everybody that's coming through and needing food, realistically, they are going to need more again in January and February and throughout the year. It’s nice that we're helping them during the Christmas break, but the excess food that we do generate, we usually divide it up between three or four different food pantries. It all gets used and the impact lasts a lot longer than many people would imagine,” he said.