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HOPE Family Shelters, Love INC receive $60,000
Doug Montandon (Love INC), United Way of San Joaquin CEO Kristen Birtwhistle, and HOPE Ministries CEO Cecily Ballungay hold up the United Way donation on Friday.

The United Way of San Joaquin County is recommitting to Manteca.

Kristen Birtwhistle, who is the president and CEO of the United Way based in Stockton, mentioned just that at Friday’s donation presentation to both HOPE Ministries Inc. and Love INC.

“Both agencies rose to the top of their efforts (in helping and assisting the community) in the outlying areas during COVID-19,” she said.

This came a big relief for HOPE Ministries CEO Cecily Ballungay, in particular, with the family shelter being totally impacted during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re not closing our doors to families whether they test positive or not to COVID-19,” she said.

Based on that, the HOPE Family Shelters, servicing over 72 families at two shelter sites, have seen these same families extending their stay past the usual 180 days during these tough and difficult times.

By not serving new families, HOPE Ministries would be operating at a greater shortfall due to lack of funding.

“This will certainly help,” said Ballungay, referencing the $30,000 donation received from the United Way.

Love INC – or Love In the Name of Jesus Christ – is also thankful for the $30,000 donation. The religious-based non-profit services the individual needs with generosity, surplus, compassion and care.

“A good portion (of the donation) will go to the community,” said Executive Director Doug Montandon, who was joined by his Love INC colleagues, Associate Pastor of Outreach Jesse Adams of Northgate Community Church and Rick Price of Valley Christian Fellowship.

Love INC will help those struggling to make ends meet amid the coronavirus pandemic by providing financial assistance with utilities, rent or mortgage.

United Way of San Joaquin recently received a portion of $6.6 million – close to $1 million, in this case – from an anonymous donor to the Central California chapters in an effort to continue working in COVID-19 response and recovery in partnership with the nonprofit communities.

According to Birtwhistle – she was joined by United Way board member Debbie Baglietto and Director of Community Impact Amy Ferrell – the donation is intended to provide a financial boost to local agencies that have programs addressing homelessness and sheltering.

“This gift represents a significant opportunity for us to move from relief to recovery,” she said. “it will provide critical, timely relief in our community.”