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Grocery Outlet bags $1,000 plus for kids
Sisters Ganiyah, left, and Giyannah Guerrero bowl a ball together with the help of a ball ramp during Saturdays Give Every Child a Chance bowl-a-thon at the Strikezone. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Debbee Tarr knew that her crew could rise to the occasion. 

So when the Sunrise Kiwanis challenged Tarr to match their fundraising quota for the 15th annual Give Every Child a Chance Bowl-a-Thon, the Grocery Outlet owner came up with a fun and unique way to both win the challenge and get her workers involved. 

With just two weeks until the fundraiser, Tarr had her checkers place individual jars at each of their registers during their shift. As an added bonus, and just to spice things up, the person who received the most donations would be awarded a gift card. 

The money just started rolling in. 

“It wasn’t even for the full month – we were able to pull in over $1,000,” Tarr said with a laugh. “I think that’s a really big deal for our customers that they were able to show that kind of support.”

And when the day came, Tarr and her team were able to walk into Manteca Bowl and Family Fun Center, put the check on the table, and stood confidently to see whether their challenger could meet their impressive feat. 

They couldn’t. Not only did the Grocery Outlet crew outraise one of Manteca’s most prolific community service organizations, but they also dusted them on the lanes as well – a nice little feather on the cap in the friendly contest. 

At the end of the day, Tarr said, it was really the kids that won. 

“This community makes it possible for us to exist, so it’s really our responsibility to give back however we can,” she said. “I like doing anything that can better the lives of children, and this was one of those things. “

In June the Tarrs will mark their fifth year here in Manteca – having operated Grocery Outlet stores throughout California during their tenure in the business. And each and every one of them, she said, has had their respective strengths. 

But it didn’t take long after coming to Manteca to see that it was different. 

She’s on a first name basis with many of her customers – she’s the kind of person who typically never remembers names – and the same people who came to the store when it first opened still come back today. 

“I’d have to say that Manteca is by far the most welcoming of any of the communities that we’ve been a part of,” she said. “It’s definitely the people. The people have made this what it is, and that’s why we want to give back to them whenever we get the opportunity.”