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Helping Hands collecting food for Christmas
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Hundreds of families and individuals have organizations like St. Vincent de Paul Society and Helping Hands to be thankful for this year, both at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

And those two philanthropic organizations are likewise grateful to the many generous individuals, organizations and businesses in the community who always step up to make the holidays a bit easier and happier for those who are going through hard times.

St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church on East North Street in Manteca handed out food boxes to some 300 families and individuals this Thanksgiving. At Helping Hands, the outreach ministry at Cornerstone Community Church at Comconex Street off East Highway 120 in Manteca distributed around 200 boxes of food the Saturday before Thanksgiving to families with young children, seniors, and some of the homeless in the community.

With the Thanksgiving food distribution completed, both organizations are now busy collecting contributions for the Christmas food give-away.

“We’re going to be doing basically the same thing,” said Lillian Cushman, who coordinates the Helping Hands outreach ministry at Cornerstone with husband, Jack.

That means they are looking for donations such as non-perishable canned goods as well as cash donations to purchase other items they may need to include in the food boxes.

“We always accept donations – always,” said Cushman.

They will get a head start with the donations at Cornerstone two weeks before Christmas when they start setting up boxes at the church with a note on the side listing the items that they need.

“We ask for stuffing, cranberry sauce, chicken broth, yams – always, yams and some kind of dessert – pie crust or a can of pie fruit, and chocolate candy,” Cushman explained. Sometimes, donors go beyond that and would include items such as socks. Others donate more than what is being requested. “We ask for three canned goods and some put in six,” she said.

Generous individuals or groups in the community may also bring their donations to the church located on the northeast corner of East Highway 120 and Comconex Road.

St. Vincent de Paul, an all-volunteer ministry, also welcomes canned goods and other non-perishable food at their building located just behind the rectory at the corner of Fremont Avenue and East North Street. Donors may drop them off during regular business hours from 1 to 3:45 p.m. Monday to Friday. Like Helping Hands, St. Vincent de Paul Society also receives a lot of generous donations from various sources, primarily from parishioners of St. Anthony of Padua. A special offering is taken each Mass every fifth Sunday of the month with the money earmarked for the works of St. Vincent de Paul Society.

St. Anthony’s School students and non-profit organizations like the Raymus Foundation and businesses like J.R. Simplot in Lathrop, as well as the local Post Office through its annual food drive also step up to the plate especially during the holiday season.

To find out more about St. Vincent de Paul Society and how to make a donation, call (209) 823-8099. Get further details about Helping Hands and how to donate by calling (209) 825-5700.