In The News

From The Record (Stockton, CA):

Thanksgiving Dinner with All the Trimming
By Jennifer Torres, Staff Writer

A week before Thanksgiving, Tony Wehr, who runs the Grocery Outlet on Wilson Way, was posting a shopping list that promised a holiday meal for six at a cost of $3 a plate.

"In difficult financial times, it can be especially challenging to put together a traditional, sumptuous Thanksgiving dinner," a flier said. "At Grocery Outlet, we know how hard you work to stretch a dollar."

A holiday that celebrates plenty comes this year as increasing numbers of families are experiencing need.

"Everybody's trying to save a buck here or there," said Rita Flegal, who shopped at the outlet with her husband. Many are looking to preserve their traditions with smaller budgets.

Food prices continue rising, data released last week from the federal Labor Department show. And the American Farm Bureau Federation, in its annual price survey of a typical Thanksgiving meal, calculates that this year's will cost about 6 percent more than last year's.

"Business has picked up," Wehr said of the store that sells a wide range of grocery items at discounted prices. "Yes, in the past few months, it has picked up."

For Monday, Wehr has planned an event in which 25 customers will bowl with a frozen turkey. Those who knock down all 10 pins will win a free turkey. Those who don't can buy one at half price.

"I thought that could help a little bit," he said.

Throughout the county in recent days, charities have made pleas for donations of food items that typically fill Thanksgiving meal boxes. Lillian Cushman and her family coordinated a food giveaway at Manteca's Cornerstone Church. In past years, the church's Helping Hands ministry has distributed about 100 food baskets for Thanksgiving.

"Well, because of the economy ... I believe we're going to have 200 people at least this year," Cushman said.

Having a Thanksgiving dinner matters to people, she said.

"It's just tradition, really," she said. "I know at our house, when our family gets together, after we eat, we all sit around the table and everybody says what we're thankful for, even the little ones."

Amy Silva, who also shopped at the food outlet, planned to spend Thanksgiving at her sister's house. She is responsible for bringing stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy.

This year at dinner, she said, the family will draw names for buying Christmas gifts, instead of exchanging presents with everyone. "We all kind of are having a harder time right now," she said.