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Long standing St. Anthony’s tradition
Juliana Queirolo, right, listens to Nicole Isreel explain what they need to do about the decorations for The Giving Tree at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Manteca. In the center, standing, is Giving Tree coordinator Carol Jimenez. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO/Bulletin Correspondent

A longstanding holiday tradition at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Manteca continues.

The Giving Tree, one of the ways parishioners can spread the meaning of Christmas, is again being launched by the volunteer group that overseas this outreach project every year starting with signups being taken. That part of the effort started last week, and will culminate with the distribution of gifts on Dec. 21.

Taking place simultaneously between now and the day of the giveaway are two things: receiving signups from families that want their children to be among the gift recipients, and the gathering of donations for that purpose.

Signups are being conducted on Tuesdays and Thursday from 10 a.m. until noon at the St. Vincent Society office located behind the rectory on East North Street. Families wishing to include their children in the list are being asked to provide the age and gender of their children, their clothes sizes, and the kinds of toys and gifts they wish to receive. The information will appear on cards that will be hung like decorations on the Giving Tree that will be displayed in the vestibule of the church.

Children who are age 14 and younger can participate and receive gifts from their wish list.

From this Giving Tree, parishioners can pick one or more of the cards and then donate the items contained in the ornament after any of the worship services during the week. Donations can be dropped off at the church office during regular business hours.

Others can also participate in the project by donating clothes and other items for this purpose.

“We’re looking for clothes, socks, underwear, and blankets,” Carol Jimenez, who is coordinating The Giving Tree project, said in an interview last year. “Jackets are a huge need. You can also donate money.”

The year before, the overwhelming response to the Christmas project generated  gift donations that were distributed to more than 500 needy children which included those living in shelters.

Besides toys, clothes, and money, donations of gift bags, tissue paper, tape, and scissors needed to wrap the gifts are accepted.