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Evening of Respect speakers will focus on homeless issues
homeless dude
A count will take place next month to determine how many are homeless locally. Homeless people, like the man seen here at the Hatch Road Carl’s Jr. restaurant, have grown in recent years.

The Manteca Interfaith Community Appeal (MICA) is inviting  the South County community to attend “an Evening of Respect” beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 24.

The program will be hosted by St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, at 910 E. North St.  Manteca, in the Fellowship Hall.

The theme for the evening is “Homelessness:  Developing Empathy”. It will seek to address questions such as “Who are the homeless?”  “What are the causes of homelessness?” and “What can we learn from survivors?” 

As the number of residents in our community that face homelessness has increased, our communities have become more polarized in their responses.  This event is designed to educate, build empathy, and foster practical engagement. 

Guest speakers include

*Judge Barbara Kronlund, who has presided over the homeless court in Stockton

* Tori Verber Salazar, San Joaquin County District Attorney, who will address the issue of increased homelessness from the perspective of local government

*Inner City Action, who will give insight into the lives of the homeless

*Johanna Ferrera, who will address homelessness in Manteca. 

MICA has invited a variety of advocates and resource providers to be available after the presentations to give information about their involvement and to answer questions.  This group includes:  Inner City Action, Family Promise, St. Paul’s church food pantry, Hope Ministries shelters, Love INC. of Manteca and the Manteca Gospel Rescue Mission.

Quoting from their mission statement; MICA, “endeavors to bring together people of various faiths, beliefs, and traditions around common goals of service, education, and peace for all people.”  They achieve this by “acting with respect, appreciating diversity, and responding in solidarity to those most in need, while promoting these values in the community from generation to generation, one activity at a time.”

Anyone wishing to help our homeless students in the Manteca Unified School District can donate funds to MICA, c/o St. Paul’s UMC, who will purchase gift cards to provide school supplies, clothing, medicine and food.  The gift cards will be presented to the MUSD this coming fall. 

All are welcome, as public support is vital to this effort of bringing good-hearted people together.  Light refreshments will follow the program.