‘Tis the season of giving and the community of Turlock can always be counted on to give to those in need. That’s why in 1995 they formed Turlock Together, a voluntary cooperation of local ministries, businesses, non-profits, schools, service clubs, and community members who annually work together to collect and distribute food and toys to families in need during the Christmas season. You have seen their donation barrels for toys and canned food everywhere around town during the holiday season.
This year they were able to collect enough to provide 2,044 families and seniors with food boxes, just over last year’s numbers. Each box contained approximately 35 lbs of non-perishable food items and each family received one turkey.
In addition to the food, children under 12 received a big toy, small toy, crayons and coloring book or a book to read, while children 13 to 18 received a game board. A total of 2,809 children under 12 and 768 teens were given gifts through Turlock Together this year.
All of this giving would not be possible without all of the community volunteers that come together.
Volunteers deliver barrels to businesses for collection starting in October. Volunteers then sort through the toys and donated food items to get them ready for distribution. Items that they are short for food boxes are purchased with the cash donations that come in from all over the community either from groups or individuals. Finally, volunteers spend several days assembling the boxes with an assortment of non-perishable foods for a Christmas dinner.
People who registered with the Turlock Together program then were able to pick up food, toys, and clothing at Turlock Fruit Company. All the collected donations were stored and distributed from the facilities donated by Turlock Fruit Company.
A total of 344 volunteers helped this year.
"We do thank everyone who has assisted Turlock Together in any way this year,” said Turlock Salvation Army Major Debi Shrum. “God has been good to us."
The Salvation Army will continue the giving with their annual Christmas Day Dinner from 12pm to 2pm.
Volunteers will again show up early on Christmas Day to help prepare, serve, and host dinner guests at the Salvation Army. They will be cooking for approximately 1000.
"We are only short on pies for the day,” said Major Shrum. “We have approximately enough to serve 240 and need enough for 760 servings."
In addition to the full Christmas dinner, the Salvation Army hosts pictures with Santa and gives out back to school items and a stuffed animal to all the kids.
"Anyone can show up for the dinner, as we want those who are on tight budgets or those to come who are alone,” Major Shrum said. “There is no reason on earth that anyone should be alone on Christmas.”
There will be a game room for kids to play so parents can have a cup of coffee or just sit and relax for a few minutes while the kids have fun.
The dinner will be held at the Salvation Army in Turlock, located at 893 Lander Avenue. For more information call (209) 667-6091.