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100 families still in need of donations for Giving Tree
giving tree

The Giving Tree at St. Anthony of Padua in Manteca is waiting for a Christmas miracle. Some 100 ornaments are still hanging on the tree, with each ornament signifying a family with a list of items that one or more children wish to receive as gifts.

The presents being asked are not expensive digital toys and such. They are mainly practical ones, said the program's coordinator Carol Jimenez who has been spearheading this philanthropic community event each year.

"A lot of them are asking for clothes like a pair of socks, underwear, coats, and a pair of shoes," Jimenez said.

The last time this kind of donation shortage happened was about three years ago, she said. "Last year we did really fine."

There are a number of reasons behind the lack of donations this year.

"It has to do with Thanksgiving being so late (this year)," for one thing, she said.

And then, this year, for some reason, they did not receive anything from the Marine Corps' Toys for Tots. Despite repeated phone calls to the Marine Corps, they never got a return call. "I rely on them every year," Jimenez said.

If prospective donors do not have time to go shopping for the children's clothes, shoes, and toys, or to drop the gifts off at the church office due to their hectic schedule at work or for other reasons, they can always make monetary donations of $30 or more for each child. They can drop off the check at the church office during regular business days which is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays - in this case, through Friday.

They have already started wrapping some of the donations. Jimenez and a small group of volunteers do that in the church cafeteria from 4 p.m. on through Friday. For this part of the project, they also need donations such as gift bags or boxes, gift tags, and tissue papers. They started wrapping gifts Monday night.

There are 245 families all in all in the Giving Tree this year. Each ornament contains the name/s of the children complete with their clothes or shoe sizes, and age.

Distribution of the gifts is set for this Saturday starting at 9 a.m. in the grass area next to the gym on the corner of Fremont Avenue and Sutter Street. A group of confirmation children are helping in this part of the effort as part of their community service as confirmants.

The Giving Tree was started in the 1990s by Religious Formation Director David Corder. Later, Sister Kathleen took over. When she left, Jimenez became in charge.

Anybody who wants to help a child or family can stop by in the vestibule of the church, at the entrance on East North Street at the corner of Fremont Avenue, where the tree is located. The church office is right next to the church.

For more information, call 209.823.7297 during regular business hours