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Mantecans turn out to help effort

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Manteca Police Captain John Orcutt, his wife Charlotte and son Ethan, 8, check out with one of several baskets they filled for the officers' giving effort.

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

POSTED December 14, 2009 3:12 a.m.

A stream of Manteca citizens went elbow to elbow with Manteca Police officers Saturday morning shopping at the Target store for gifts to give children in need.

There were 15 members of the community who searched out motorcycle officer Patrick Danipour who had the wish list scrolls near the last check-out register – with the annual shopping effort beginning at 10 a.m.

Late in the morning one woman approached Lt. Nick Obligacion – she wouldn’t give her name – saying she didn’t have time to shop.  She had gone into the store and bought a $50 gift card, handed it to the officer and left the store.

Obligacion said the unexpected donations from the public will allow the Manteca Police Officers Association to get another half dozen wish list scrolls from the Ray of Hope next week and serve even more children.

The Manteca Police Officers Association had $5,000 to spend on 100 children many of who – once again – asked mainly for warm clothes, blankets, shoes, food and a few toys.  One young boy asked for a special doll that he in turn would give to his sister.

Art Smith retired from the Board of Prison Terms and had been a Manteca Police officer in the 1970s took several scrolls and filled his basket – paying for the gifts himself.

Chris Carlile, his wife Amy and their 14-year-old son Ryan also took part in Saturday morning’s buying spree.  They said they have taken their boys to shop for others for years to give them the chance to see the actual need that is out there.

Amy Carlile said that last year one of the kids asked for groceries – something that just broke her heart.  

Carol Aksland said she hadn’t started her Christmas shopping yet and saw the story about the police officers’ effort to help children in Saturday morning’s paper and decided to join them.  “I’ve just wanted to do this,” she said.

Community member Greg Masterson was another one who walked up to Officer Danipour asking for a gift scroll.  He took two and filled his basket – also picking up the tab.  Officers said it was great to see these people coming in to help fill this important need.

Captain John Orcutt, his wife Charlotte and their 8-year-old son Ethan didn’t stop from the time they rolled their first basket through the aisles.  They kept going back for additional wish lists.  Ethan was helping because of his age and show definite excitement when he saw the one boy wanted “Anything Chocolate,” on his list.

Target’s Andy Vargas presented the officers with a $249 gift certificate so they could buy a few more gifts that their budget from their July 4th fireworks stand would allow.

Community Service Officer Andrea Contreras was also busy refilling her basket even though she hadn’t been feeling well all week – she was there for the kids’ sake.  She noted that the kids she was buying for were asking for clothes, shoes, mac and cheese, vegetables and fruit.

Captain Greg Lassell and his wife Rita bought gifts for a 15-year-old boy.  He had asked for a blanket, shoes and a Toby Keith CD.

Patrolman Bob Anderson, his wife Suzanne and son Robert, 17, went through the aisles looking for gifts two girls and one boy had written on their lists.  They included books, a princess doll, clothes, a Super Hero and slippers.

Sgt. Chris Mraz and his wife Kelly filled their baskets for two boys and two girls with clothes, games, a cupcake maker, jackets and food.  Mraz and his wife respond to the effort every year.

Food, heaters and blankets were on the lists again this year, said Patrolman Shawn Cavin as he and his daughter Marissa, 15, shopped for two girls and two boys.  There was even a pillow posted on their scrolls.

Officer Mike Espinosa and his wife Robin picked out gifts for two boys, ages six and nine.  Blankets, shoes, clothes and a hot wheel was what they wanted for Christmas.

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