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Former members help stage Boys & Girls Christmas party

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Former members help stage Boys & Girls Christmas party

Manteca Boys & Girls Club member Terrell Williams is all smiles after picking out a bicycle in the gift room at Friday’s Christmas party.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED December 22, 2012 1:13 a.m.

Alyssa and Jonathan Reed were back at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manteca / Lathrop for Friday’s annual Christmas party.

This time, the former club members came in with the goal of feeding 150 folks, with an estimated 125 being Boys and Girls club youngsters.

Mark McCool, who is the director of operations, was especially touched by their gesture. “It makes me tear up,” he said.

McCool was on staff in the late 1990s when Alyssa’s home burned down. She and her family received an outpouring of money from the likes of Kiwanis and the South San Joaquin Irrigation District.

“For her to come back here and offer to help out is very special,” McCool said.

Jonathan Reed is married to Alyssa. Both were raised here and became accomplished members of the local Boys and Girls Clubs.

Jonathan was the 2000 Youth of the Year while Alyssa claimed the 2003 Youth of the Year honor. They also worked at the club before starting careers as LVNs.

The two approached various businesses and organizations in an effort to gather support for the Christmas meal.

Stepping up was Grocery Outlet, which, according to Jonathan Reed, was the biggest contributor. Chuck Crutchfield, former executive director of the Boys and Girls Clubs, also chipped in as did Wal-Mart, SSJDIC, Costco, and Mountain Mike’s Pizza, to name a few.

 The latter cooked up the turkeys, according to Jonathan Reed.

Alyssa Reed pointed out that most of the meals were made from scratch.

 “It’s great to come back here and help out,” she said. “I’m just glad that I can give back (to the club).”

The two were kept busy preparing the dinner while youngsters were herded out, according to age group, to not only meet with Santa Claus but pick and choose their gift.

They were often left in awe by the roomful of brand new toys and games made possible by the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots, Doctors Hospital of Manteca, Old Navy, and the recycled bike program of the San Joaquin County Department of Public Works, Solid Waste Division as well as the Jeff Burkhardt Memorial Fund.

Jazmin Pereira knew that her 3-year-old daughter Jazlene Cortez would go straight to the dolls.

“I like it,” the youngster said to her mom of the Barbie-type doll.

Annalisa Sandoval, 7, went for the Fur-Real Friends’ toy pet. She’s a first-grade student at Shasta School.

Club members met inside the gym to kick off the special holiday occasion. They were entertained by a clown, a magician, and the Boys and Girls Club choir.

“They sang ‘Here Comes Santa Claus’ before making their way to meet Santa,” McCool said.

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