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HOPE Ministries cut ribbon for children wellness center
HOPE Miniseries CEO Cecily Ballungay acknowledged those in attendance at Friday's ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Margaret Ann Rey Children of HOPE Wellness Center.

Margaret Ann Rey will long be remembered.

She served as a volunteer and board member for HOPE Ministries.

“For over 20 years, HOPE Ministries was blessed with the care and support of this building’s name sake,” said Chief Executive Officer Cecily Ballungay during the dedication ceremony of the Margaret Ann Rey Children of HOPE Wellness Center on Friday.

The dedication ceremony included representative from Kaiser Permanente – they were credited for putting up $90,000 towards securing space for the homeless youth mental health program – along with Manteca Chamber of Commerce and the Manteca City Council.

There were concerns early on about the threat of wet weather.

The wellness center is a 1,600 square-foot facility of the Raymus Home, 520 S. Union Road, is for single moms and their children.

Ballungay said that the “quality mental health care” program will be able to service 23 families at a time or 89 people. “Sixty percent of that will be children,” she noted.

HOPE Ministries recognized the need for youth counseling services for the homeless in recent years ago.

Included were a pair of suicide attempts by pre-teen youngsters during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Ballungay.

The Margaret Ann Rey Children of HOPE Wellness Center features an office, reception area, and spacious and inviting therapist office for one-on-one counseling and sessions for age-specific groups.

Rey was known for being tireless and generous in her care for children of the shelter and their families.

“(She) left an enduring mark that we hope to honor for many years to come,” Ballungay said.

About two years ago, the HOPE Ministries board and staff finally got the ball rolling on the much-anticipated wellness center.

For that, they received for donations for the project initially estimated at $369,000.

Those costs were slashed substantially thanks to the generosity of Raymus Homes and contractors in providing labor and materials.

Another $173,000 came from people and businesses stepping up when they heard about HOPE Ministries’ needs.

In addition, the new building will provide screening, identification, evaluation, treatment, supportive services and referrals mental health support with collaborating and supportive agencies.

HOPE Ministries has been helping homeless families get back on their feet for the past 27 years.

Since 1994, they've assisted more than 5,400 people during that time.