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Hollywood Video brings joy to kids at county shelter
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From left, Gary Gunderson, system director at Mary Graham Children’s Shelter, graciously accepts the post-holiday donation Friday from Hollywood Video district manager Brad Stone and Manteca store manager Heather Miser. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT
FRENCH CAMP – Friday afternoon was a belated Christmas at the Mary Graham Children’s Shelter.

For the third straight year, about 10 Hollywood Video stores from throughout San Joaquin County collected over $2,000 from generous customers during the recent holiday.

In turn, those at the national chain stores located in Manteca, Stockton, Lodi and Tracy were able to purchase many of the latest DVD movies and video games to benefit the severely abused, abandoned or neglected youngsters placed in the protective care of the county facility.

Included was this year’s hot ticket, “The Dark Knight.”

According to Brad Stone, district manager of Hollywood Video, Mary Graham Children’s Shelter had a single game room when the fundraiser first began. Donations from the area video stores have made a difference. “Now there are four game rooms here,” he said.

Gary Gunderson, the shelter’s system director, indicated that this sort of entertainment has proved invaluable.

“When kids first come here they’re scared,” he said. “These movies and video games help recreate that home-like atmosphere.”

Added Stone, “There’s nothing quite like the power of entertainment.”

Since the early 1960s, Mary Graham has served as refuge to thousands of children.

Youngsters are also provided with programs and services to get past physical and emotional needs thanks to a partnership with public and private agencies.