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Community comes through for todays free dinner
David Cushman and his son David Jr. place gifts under the Christmas tree at David and Sylvia’s Family Dining Tuesday afternoon – preparing for the free community dinner the restaurant will host today from 4 to 6 p.m. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL


• WHAT: Free Christmas Eve dinner for anyone from those spending the holiday alone to struggling families
• WHEN: Today from 4 to 6 p.m.
• WHERE: David & Sylvia’s Family Dining restaurant, southeast corner of North Main Street and Louise Avenue

It turns out that the even in tough times the community doesn’t want to see children go without on Christmas.

Tuesday afternoon, representatives from the First Assembly of God were ecstatic after organizations like the Manteca Noon Kiwanis and the Red Hat Jitterbug Club – along with countless individual residents – brought donated toys to David and Sylvia’s Restaurant where a free community dinner is being held tonight from 4 to 6 p.m.

Earlier, the Marines Toys for Tots as well as the Manteca Firefighters Association dropped toys by as well.

The outpouring of support came only one day after a story ran in the Manteca Bulletin in which Pastor Mike Dillman outlined the need for unwrapped children’s gifts to be dropped by the restaurant so that they can be distributed by Santa Claus to the children who attend the community dinner.

For restaurant owner David Cushman – who is lending his facility to the cause free of charge – seeing the community pull together in such a short amount of time reaffirms why he loves to live here.

“I’m very happy to see this, especially the way that the economy has been,” Cushman said after placing some of the toys under and around the Christmas tree inside of the restaurant. “This amount of support is great, and to know that these kids are going to have something that will make their Christmas makes it even better.

His wife Sylvia said that the couple has long wanted to sponsor something like what will be offered today to not only those who are struggling, but also those who might be alone during the holidays because they don’t have any immediate family in the area.

“This is something that has always been in our hearts,” Sylvia Cushman said. “When Pastor Dillman called us and asked ifwe’d be willing to do this we jumped at the chance to play a role in helping people out who need a meal.

“It’s really what the spirit of the holiday is all about.”

Community donations accounted for all of the food that will be served for the meal tonight from 4 to 6 p.m., and a team of volunteers from both Dillman’s church and the community at large will be on hand to help serve those who stop by.

David and Sylvia’s Family Dining restaurant is located at the Cardoza Center on the southeast corner of North Main Street and Louise Avenue next to Rite-Aid.