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Wanted: Turkeys

The annual free Thanksgiving lunch provided by Swingtime Cafe needs more birds.

Peggy Triplitt knows the turkeys will come, she's just feeling a little frantic because, with just a week until the annual community Thanksgiving meal Swingtime Cafe serves, so few donated birds have landed in the kitchen at the West Lake Avenue restaurant.

Triplitt and chef Antonette Wood have been cooking for hundreds of Watsonville residents for the past seven years.

The lunch started with six turkeys and 150 people. These days, the women cook with the intention of serving 1,000 meals in Hansen Park on Thanksgiving afternoon.

"It just got bigger and bigger," Triplitt said.

The Swingtime Cafe meal relies heavily on donations: Watsonville Coast Produce gifted 200 pounds of yams, 150 pounds of potatoes and 100 pounds of onions Thursday afternoon. Next week, the produce distributor will come by with fresh salad mix.

So the side dishes are covered.

But Triplitt and Wood could use some turkeys.

Last year, the women had more than 60 turkeys. They cooked and served 45 of them and donated the rest to Second Harvest Food Bank, which partners with Swingtime Cafe to put on the free meal.

This year's donations, well, "they are slow," Wood admitted.

They had just 14 turkeys Thursday. Wood had already roasted, de-boned and froze about half of the birds. She said she has to start cooking far ahead of time to get the whole menu done.

The women are hopeful donations will come in, the same way volunteers materialize to serve the meal.

"This is the time that God reminds me that there are still people out there who really care and want to help in any way they can," Triplitt said. " ... We're just the focal point. It's actually the whole community together."

To make a donation, call the cafe at 831-786-0812 to find out when someone will be in. Swingtime Cafe, at 19 W. Lake Ave. near Main Street, is typically open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Thursday. 

Jennifer Squires November 16, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Cathy, you may just want to call them and ask what's easiest. I'm not sure.
David H. Perez November 16, 2012 at 09:43 PM
@Cathy P. - When you go to donate, please count me in as well for either cash or turkeys. And let's hope that Reel America and This Place Sucks2 find a lump of coal in their stockings this Christmas.
Cathy P. November 17, 2012 at 07:38 PM
@Rebbecca: pay no attention to the negativity, Happy Thanksgiving!
Rebecca Tait November 17, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Thanks and a Good One to you too,
Eugene Tsuji November 20, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Thanks for giving me even more reasons to love SwingTime cafe. Great food, great capitalists, great people, great community spirit. Just when I thought it could not get any better, this let me read "Reel America" and "this Place sucks2" to remind me that my in-laws could be worse. This pull yourself up by the bootstraps libertarian wishes you a great thanksgiving.

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