The holidays are still months away.
But for local non-profits such as Ray of Hope Children’s Services, this month is when it all starts for organizing what’s already anticipated to be a busy year for referrals.
In fact, Executive Director Laura Saunders strongly believes that the need will be at an all-time high.
The reason for that?
“With the current health crisis of COVID-19 and the end of unemployment for so many, there’s already been increased referrals from agencies such as the Child Abuse Prevention Agency, San Joaquin County Child Protective Services and other local and government agencies that have referred to Ray of Hope for crisis services for basic needs of children,” she explained on Thursday.
Ray of Hope programs such as the Kids Cupboard Food Pantry, Babies in Need, Clothing Closet have been impacted from the overwhelmed need for basic essentials for children, Saunders added.
The Christmas Guardian Angel Program is one of the reasons for early preparation.
“It’s one of our most loved programs and we have a community that absolutely goes out of their way to help provide food and gifts for the kids who otherwise will view Christmas as just another day,” she said.
Ray of Hope is requesting businesses, groups and families help support the program by adopting a child’s name.
“We will continue (using) our traditional scrolls that people can pick up,” said Saunders, who noted that each scroll will have name of the youngster along with his or her three wishes beginning in November.
The Christmas Guardian Angel scrolls can be picked up locally at Chit Chat Cafe, Chic Fil-A, Starbucks (Airport Way), Pro Touch Auto, and Cabral Motors.
Businesses, community members and others looking to help out in other ways can do so via e-mail at NoHungryKids@rayofhopechildrensservices.org.
Ray of Hope has once again has partnered with Manteca Police Department and The Manteca Fire Department on Union Road as safe gift drop off locations.
“Their assistance is paramount in the success of our collection for Christmas,” Rob Brotherton of Ray Of Hope said.
Other drop-off places include Cabral Motors and Pro Touch Auto in Manteca.
More information can be obtained by call 209.597.0574.