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Ray of Hope kicking off backpack drive
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The school year just ended.

But for non-profit organizations such as Ray of Hope Children’s Crisis & Resource Services, the work for the upcoming school year is just beginning.

“Ray of Hope is back at providing all the needed essentials to give kids in the need the tools for success in school regardless of their living situations,” said CEO Laura Vieira-Saunders on Monday.

Part of meeting those needs is the upcoming Backpack & School Supply Drive.

From June 22 through July 23, Ray of Hope will be collecting school clothes, shoes, hygiene products and school supplies – backpack items along with food and bottled water (given the upcoming hot weather) may be taken to Ray of Hope office at 113 Yosemite Ave. while clothing can be dropped off at Hope’s Closet, 1031 W. Yosemite Ave., Mondays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. via appointment (call 209.597.0574).

The other part of the Ray of Hope equation is the Student Success Program, which also provides school clothes from Hope’s Closet.

The thrift shop near Hafers Home Furnishing is also open to the public. Those in the Student Success Program can shop for their own school clothes, using this service at no charge.

Ray of Hope, in addition, provides anonymity for students in the program.

“Ray of Hope allows for families to come individually – each have different needs and are allowed confidentiality and respect to be able to serv their children most effectively,” Vieira-Saunders said.

The year-round Student Success Program allows students to have supplies replenished with season-appropriate clothing as well as other needs during each report card period.

“Children will receive monthly assistance from Ray of Hope’s Kids Cupboard food pantry,” said Vieira-Saunders, who added that the agency just received new freezers along with frozen foods thanks to a grant from the Raymus Foundation.

“This is exciting to know we can provide meat and vegetables (to children),” Ray of Hope staff member Rob Brotherton said.

Ray of Hope receives referrals to the various programs offered from San Joaquin County Child Protective Services, SJC Child Abuse Prevention Council, and the local women and homeless shelters.