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Thieves steal riding lawn mower from HOPE family shelter
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Thieves have stolen the 42-inch riding lawn mower from the HOPE Family Shelter’s Raymus House on South Union Road.

The culprits last Saturday kicked out the planks of a fence at the back of the fenced-in Raymus House complex and then took the lawnmower out crossing through the yard of an adjoining neighbor.

HOPE Ministries Executive Director Dave Thompson found it missing when volunteers for Calvary Community showed up to help tidy up the landscaping of the 1.5-acre site including cutting the grass.

“They obviously couldn’t cut the grass,” Thompson mussed.

Now Thompson is faced with the need to secure another lawn mower in order to keep the property up.

“You hate to spend the money when we are struggling but we’ve got to cut the grass,” Thompson said.

He asked anyone who may have a used riding lawn mower they are interested in selling to contact him at 824-8029 Monday through Friday.

HOPE Family Ministries was organized by the Manteca Ministerial Association 20 years ago to provide shelter for homeless families. Since the doors of their first shelter opened in 1992, HOPE Ministries have assisted more than 2,000 families get back on their feet.

Twenty-five percent of the homeless passing through HOPE Shelters are employed. Some financial event – including foreclosures on rental properties in the current climate – puts them out on the street. They can afford rent but not the deposit.

Others are helped to get back on their feet with assistance in getting a job. Due to the success HOPE has had with helping homeless families get their finances in order, a number of apartment complexes in Manteca have a working relationship with the non-profit and have no problem taking renters who’ve been at HOPE shelter.

To make it work, the shelter tries to provide as much of the basics they can from food and everyday items such as toilet paper and personal hygiene products. They rely heavily on individuals to donate such items.

HOPE Ministries also operates the nine-unit Raymus House on Union Road for single moms and their children as well as seven transitional units where families can stay for two years as they rebuild their lives.

Staff and servcie cutbacks have allowed the shelter to get by with a $160,000 budget - $40,000 less than last year’s amount. HOPE no longer receives state money and is having their federal assistance pared back $26,000 to $22,000.

The majority of the families helped over the years are from Manteca with almost all the rest coming from the South County although there have been some out-of-state families that were helped.