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Homeless shelters jumpstarting fundraising
HOPE bedroom
HOPE Family Shelter CEO Cecily Ballungay inspects a bedroom in an apartment at the HOPE Shelter at Yosemite and Sequoia avenues.

 The pandemic has created a two-prong challenge for HOPE Family Shelters.

Not only has the COVID-19 lockdown triggered job losses creating bigger demand for their services but it has also cut into their community fundraising.

Before the pandemic hit HOPE Ministries staged four annual events that brought in $85,000.

In the past year of dealing with COVID-19 they’ve taken a $35,000 hit.

HOPE is trying to get its fundraising events back on track

They are starting with the HOPE Hoedown drive through dinner and raffle on Saturday, April 10, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Calvary Community Church, 815 West Lathrop Road, Manteca.

The $20 ticket includes a Texas Roadhouse dinner plus $5 of raffle tickets. Additional tickets can be purchased at the event.

You can buy tickets via PayPal by going to and clicking on agency corner> events.

For HOPE supporters hesitant to buy tickets online, you can call (209) 665-7640 to find out how you can make a manual payment. You will receive dinner tickets at the event just like online purchasers.

The deadline to purchase tickets is April 7.

“A lot of people are being hurt all at once,” HOPE Ministries CEO Cecily Ballungay noted.

In a typical year HOPE assists 220 individuals. HOPE operates three shelters. The others are a family shelter on Yosemite Avenue west of downtown and transitional housing near Doctors Hospital of Manteca.

This past year 49 percent of all families temporarily housed by HOPE Family Shelters have been able to secure permanent housing on their own.

To put that in perspective, the year prior the pandemic they were enjoying a 42 percent success rate. The national average for homeless shelters to see the clients they help go from a temporary stay in their shelter into permanent housing they secure on their own is 15 percent.

HOPE Ministries currently has a $337,000 annual budget. The three shelters the non-profit operates receive just $60,000 from state and federal government sources. The rest is covered by donations from churches, private foundations, individuals, businesses, service organizations, and fundraisers.

The fundraisers not only account for 22 percent of the non-profit’s operating budget buy they also help to raise awareness.

Their smallest fundraiser in terms of dollars is their biggest when it comes to community impact. That event is the overnight Kids in a Box endeavor. Given COVID -19 restrictions, the event will go “virtual” this year with participating youth designed their own shelters out of large cardboard boxes that they will stay in overnight while posting photos of their endeavors.

The shelter budget is also stretched by people donating items ranging from paper towels, toilet paper, and personal hygiene items to cleaning supplies and even bedsheet sets and towels.

When families move into housing on their own, they are given the bedsheet sets and towels so that is an expense they don’t have to worry about.

Ballungay noted such donations means the shelters don’t have to raise money to pay for the items they can direct what they do receive toward various services to help the homeless get back on their get as well as cover overhead such s energy and staff salaries.

HOPE Ministries is in its 27th year of helping homeless families get back on their feet.  Overall, they have helped more than 4,400 people since they first opened their doors in 1994.

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To contact Dennis Wyatt, email