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Ray of Hope returns for needy youth

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POSTED December 1, 2017 12:28 a.m.

Ray of Hope is back.
And with it is the Christmas Guardian Angels Program consisting of wish-list scrolls for local needy youngsters being made available to the public at this weekend’s Christmas in the Park event.
According to executive director Laura (Vieira) Saunders, Ray of Hope will be helped out by the Manteca Raiders Youth Football and Cheer Program in this endeavor. A collection box and donation jar for the Ray of Hope Christmas Guardian Program will be made available at Library Park in downtown during this Manteca Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event, from 5-10 p.m. on Friday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday.
“Ray of Hope’s primary purpose is to bring programs that meet the basic human needs for children living at or below the federal poverty level,” she said.
These are youngsters who were referred to her non-profit organization by Child Protect Services, Second Harvest Food Bank, Give Every Child A Chance, and St. Paul’s Food Pantry, to name a few.
Ray of Hope has been on hiatus since 2010.
Personal problems such as Saunders dealing with her late husband’s terminal illness coupled with her daughter losing her vision while being diagnosed with an incurable disease – currently in remission – forced her to put Ray of Hope on hold.
Ray of Hope is back, bringing along other programs such as Babies in Crisis, the Student Success Program, and the upcoming 2018 Sexual Assault Healing.
As for the Christmas Guardian Angels Program, Saunders said: “we screen very diligently and will site visit our kids to assure circumstances (and) provide the best service and make sure the needs are concrete and met.”
She added that this program has already received significant support from San Joaquin General Hospital, Dameron Hospital, Bank of Stockton, Davita Dialysis, Manteca Fire Department and Funtastic Gymnastics.
“The Manteca Raiders will accept a new unwrapped toy or cash donation (at Christmas in the Park) for the Ray of Hope program,” Saunders said.
She noted that community members can also drop off their unwrapped gift and other donations at the Manteca Police Department of the Manteca Fire Department.
Those looking to help up by picking up a scroll with a child’s name (included are three wishes) can call 209.883.6255.

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