By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Prayer breakfast features shelter exec as speaker
Untitled_04252019_104455 copy.jpg

HOPE Ministries Executive Director Cecily Ballungay is the keynote speaker for the Manteca National Day of Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, May 2.

The breakfast starts at 6 a.m. at the Manteca Senior Center, 295 Cherry Lane.  Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance by calling Judy Vasquez at 209.629.1458 or David Byrd at 209.612.8681. Tickets can also be purchased at the door.

Stephon Lyon is presiding over the breakfast as well as providing the invocation.

The program includes an Old Testament reading by Rod Flora and a New Testament reading by Joanne Beattie.

Leading prayers are Clara Schmiedt, education; Mayor Ben Cantu, government; Jeff Zellner, business; home and family Betty Tavares, home and family; Sophia Schmiedt, youth; Jeff Elling, seniors; Robert Ybarra, military; and Andre Benson, ministry.

Andre Benson will offer the closing prayer while the East Union High JROTC will post the colors.

Ballungay has served as the executive director for HOPE Ministries for four years. She oversees the three HOPE Family Shelters in Manteca that house 260 people a year with 60 percent of them being children.

She earned her Bachelors in Psychology Degree in 2010 from California State University Stanislaus. This was no small feat given she started her higher education journey later than most after escaping an abusive marriage and finding herself raising two young children on her own. That is what drives her involvement in family advocacy.

She has been married for 17 years and has four children and two grandsons. Ballungay lives in Tracy and attends South Winds Church.

Prior to joining HOPE Ministries she worked for United Way in Stanislaus County.

She is credited with helping turn HOPE Family Shelters — that had been a struggling non-profit — into a thriving organization that has been able to equip its clients with the skills needed so they are able to keep a roof over their heads on their own. That is done through Project HOPE that works to get their financial house in order and addressing issues that can run the gamut from abusive relationships, poor money management to self-esteem that are at the root of how they ended up homeless.

More than 90 percent of the annual $342,000 needed to operate the three shelters comes from the private sector through churches, businesses, individuals, and non-profit foundations. The balance comes from government grants.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email