And now with the county's unemployment rate around 16 percent, organizers expect to feed even more recent victims of the recession this year than last.
The Merced Rescue Mission is still collecting food for the Thanksgiving meal at the American Legion, as well as others in Los Banos, Planada, and And Winton. But staff members say tough economic times have led to fewer donations ... and left them in desperate need of more turkeys.
Organizers are also asking for every traditional side dish except sweet potatoes to help stock these empty shelves by next week. And those looking forward to the annual gathering still hope its one hot meal they can count on.
Food donations can be dropped off 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the Merced Rescue Mission located at 1921 Canal Street.