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Small Manteca ministry seeks to feed homeless

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POSTED March 26, 2014 2:04 a.m.

Terry Pierce wants to give back to a community that has shown his young hotel nothing but support.

To do so, the general manager at Hampton Inn & Suites in Manteca hopes to provide a hot meal and bottle of water to the homeless.

The Hampton has partnered with Transformed Through Hope Ministries of Manteca. Together, they’ll canvass the streets of Manteca on May 31, searching out and feeding the homeless.

And if they run out of mouths to feed, they’ll look beyond the city’s borders and into communities like Tracy and Stockton.

“We’ll go where we are needed. We’ll drive out to people. We have people will to do that,” said pastor Cynthia Jackson. “We have the means to feed people and bring awareness to the fact that we have people out there that need help.”

Transformed Through Hope is a small congregation located on Alameda Street, a stone’s throw off Main Street. What the church lacks in size — Jackson says there are less than 100 in the congregation — it makes up for with spirit and a sharply tuned sense of community.

On Thanksgiving, Transformed Through Hope fed more than 600 homeless people, steering its bus around the streets of Stockton.

Two weeks ago, Jackson and her husband, pastor Wayne Jackson, learned of a homeless encampment beneath a Manteca overpass. They visited the camp, doling out food and water.

The ministry returned once more last week.

“We’re a small church and most of us don’t have to worry about where our meals come from,” Cynthia Jackson said. “You help those who cannot help themselves. If people need food, you feed them.

“We’ve helped before, but it’s like ‘Let’s go out and help more people and let’s do what we can.’ We can’t go all the time. We’re not a big church with a big fund, or big money, but we do what we can.”

Pierce hopes the partnership can graduate into an annual event. The Hampton, which will celebrate its fourth year along Atherton Drive on May 21, already keeps a crowded community service calendar.

The Manteca location has partnered with DoubleTree affiliates in Modesto and San Jose to assist the Manteca Pregnancy Center and host a “Feed the Children” benefit, respectively.

Pierce has reached out to the Hilton corporate headquarters to seek a third partner for May’s homeless outreach project.

“We want to create a reputation of giving back, giving to the community and being generous,” said Pierce, who has been with the Manteca Hampton since the beginning. “Our goal is to have a positive presence in Manteca.”

The impact of food and water, as simple as it may be, is real. Cynthia Jackson and her congregation have witnessed it. First on Thanksgiving Day in Stockton, and again in recent weeks beneath a concrete overhang in Manteca.

“On Thanksgiving we fed over 600 families. Our church bus drove out and covered all of Stockton,” she said. “... We have several homeless people. Everybody doesn’t want to be homeless, but they’d like to eat besides on Thanksgiving.”

If you’d like to donate money or bottled water or volunteer your time on May 31, contact Transformed Through Hope at www.transformedthroughhope.org or call 209.815.9815.

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