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Holiday raises $15K for Congo, non-profits

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Holiday raises $15K for Congo, non-profits

The decorated auditorium at Place of Refuge on Button Avenue in Manteca provides a holiday ambience to the annual Heavenly Holiday Tea sponsored by the church’s Women’s Ministry. The event, held ev...

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POSTED November 22, 2013 12:00 a.m.

“Provide justice for the needy and fatherless; uphold the right of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and needy.” – Psalm 82: 3-5

Here’s a tea party that’s worth $15,000. Pastor Mike Dillman of the Place of Refuge in Manteca calls it Manteca’s Best Secret.

But it’s a secret no more. For the last nine years, the annual Heavenly Holiday Tea sponsored by the church’s Women’s Ministry has grown to the point where, at the last event they hosted on the second Saturday of this month, they were able to raise $15,000. One sip of tea at a time, and one gently used or never used donated item at a time.

Ten thousand dollars will go to a project called “It’s a New Day” center in Goma, Congo. With a matching pledge from another organization called Light of Africa, the combined $20,000 donation will make it possible to complete a second floor to the center, said Jan Dillman of the Place of Refuge.

“The Center is used for school and literacy and job training for women and children who have suffered the atrocities of rape and violence and poverty,” she explained. “Their goal is to educate them and train them to be self-sufficient. They also assist them in receiving the proper medical attention necessary for the multiple surgeries necessary for them to be able to function after the brutal gang rapes. They have also begun a program called ‘The Songs of Congo,’ retraining men to be protectors of their children and families instead of perpetuators of violence. Over 12,000 men have gone through their training.”

The remainder of the money raised from the holiday tea will be divided among the School of Leadership Training at Place of Refuge, the Haven of Peace respite shelter for abused women and their children, the Manteca Pregnancy Help Center, Modesto Rescue Mission for Women and Children, and HOPE Family Shelter in Manteca.

The money going to the Haven of Peace will go toward funds that the facility needs to complete the remodeling of the kitchen. The emergency shelter needs $30,000 for this project.

Some 240 people attended this month’s Heavenly Holiday Tea. They enjoyed homemade cranberry white chocolate scones with real lemon curd, and fresh Devonshire cream and tea. Lunch was also served with the menu consisting of chicken salad croissant sandwiches, gourmet salad with fruit garnish, and mini cheesecake.

“The ladies sit at gorgeous china and candle-lit tables surrounded by wonderfully decorated auditorium,” Dillman said, describing the ambience that draws the hundreds of people each year to the holiday event.

The organizers also raised money by holding a live auction, a silent auction, as well as a “direct purchase raffle area.” Rounding out the day’s tea experience was live Christmas music, stories shared “of how God can take what is difficult or bad and turn it to our good,” added Dillman.

Eighty percent of all the items that were either auctioned off or raffled off were “gently used or never used.”

The Heavenly Holiday Tea is held every second Saturday of November. Dillman said the inspiration behind it is Psalm 82: 3-5 in the Bible: “Provide justice for the needy and fatherless; uphold the right of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and needy.”

“Our time and resources are limited as women but this is one way we have found to multiply our time and resources to reach out beyond ourselves and help other women in our world and around the world,” Dillman said.

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