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Workers give up tips to help cover funerals cost of Ripon girl

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Workers give up tips to help cover funerals cost of Ripon girl

John Sandoval, owner of Coffee Time and Steak Café in Manteca, is pictured with the “Tips” jar at his restaurant. He and his employees are giving up their tops to help the family of preschooler Jul...


POSTED February 7, 2013 12:54 a.m.

Monica Gutierrez can barely make ends meet with her salary as a waitress. But the Coffee Time & Steak Café employee did not even hesitate to give up her tips to help a local family in need.

Gutierrez, along with Manteca restaurant owners John and Eli Sandoval and their chefs, have been saving all the money left in the “Tips” jar at the front counter of the restaurant since Monday for the family of 4-year-old Julissia Angelina Guzman who died of inoperable brain tumor on Friday, Feb. 1. The Ripon preschooler was buried Wednesday, Feb. 6, at St. John’s Catholic Cemetery following a funeral Mass at St. Patrick’s Church.

Sandoval said all the tips collected through Friday will be given to the family to help with medical and funeral expenses. The first three days, they collected nearly $100 in tips, said Sandoval who knows the Guzman family through St. Patrick’s Church where they all worship on Sundays. The Sandovals also know Julissia’s mother, Liliana, really well because she had worked as a chef at their Manteca restaurant after they opened the business in October 2012. John Sandoval said Lily used to work two jobs – at his restaurant and at another dining establishment in Ripon to support her family. Her husband is employed as a dishwasher at another local restaurant. Liliana, at first, quit working at Coffee Time & Steak to devote more time to her family which include a son who is a senior at Ripon High, and an 8-year-old daughter. But after their youngest child, Julissia, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, Liliana quit working all together to take care of her baby daughter.

“With most of their family in Mexico, they have very little help and support,” family friend Laura Ochoa told the Manteca Bulletin in a plea sent via e-mail to “help spread the news on some ways the community can help.”

The first three days at Coffee Time & Steak Café, “a lot of people gave $10, $5, and $1. I tell people it’s not for me,” said John Sandoval who opened his business in the old Yosemite Grill at 216 West Yosemite Avenue just west of North Main Street.

“Today, we had only $20.13 in tips. Yesterday, we had $30,” John Sandoval said Tuesday night.

After young Julissia was diagnosed with the disease in November, she was taken to Oakland Children’s Hospital and the children’s hospital in Madera. Both hospitals sadly told her parents, Pascal and Liliana, that there was nothing they could do to remove the tumor, and were sent home to care for their child until she passed away.

Coffee Time & Steak in Manteca is not the only place where people, who would like to help the Guzman family with medical and funeral expenses, can make a donation. They can also make monetary contributions to the family at

Applebee’s on Sisk Road in Modesto is also opening early on Saturday, Feb 23, 7 to 9 a.m., for a flapjack breakfast fund-raiser with proceeds going to the Guzman family. This will be held on the same morning of the annual Ripon Almond Blossom Festival.

“Depending on the ticket sales, the event might open another time slot from 6-7 a.m. Tickets are $8 each,” said Laura Ochoa.

Advance tickets may be purchased also at ReMax Executive in Ripon on Main and Acadia Avenue during regular business hours. They also accept donations for the family as well “if anyone wants to donate that way instead of going through the site,” Ochoa added.

For further details about the flapjack breakfast, log on to

Coffee Time & Steak will donate to the Guzman family all tips received through Friday. For any other information, call the restaurant at (209) 823-8212 or (209) 214-2929.

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