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Ripon non-profit assists around world & at home
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Ripon’s One Word Church members donated a smoker barbecue with plans to prepare breakfast for firefighters and displaced families at the Carr Fire in Redding. Church member Rudy Torres is seen with Pastor Dave Betts and Assist staffers Stacey Fahrenbruch and Michelle Franzia. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Assist International — a Ripon-based non-profit — lends help to the most vulnerable around the world as well as in their own backyard.

The organization assists non-profits and starving people worldwide from its distribution center in Ripon.

Supported by national corporations and the communities they serve, Assist International has helped some 65 non-profits shipping out 2,100 pallets stacked with essentials since last October valued at more than $1 million as part of their Pallet Program. This week, they also assisted with the Ripon Police Department’s effort to provide relief for those victims of the Redding and Yosemite area wildfires.

More than 400 volunteers help with the effort. Assist International is currently looking for additional volunteers to work in its Ripon center.  Those interested can go to their website to learn more at or visit the center at 800 South Stockton Avenue in Ripon. 

On Wednesday, 12 truck loads of various items including camp chairs, sleeping bags, small refrigerators and pallets of food were shipped using non-profit partners taking the essentials to the fire sites. Today another eight truck loads are being sent. 

Many of the stockpiled items come from Costco returns being sent out of their distribution center in Tracy through a World Vision broker. Assist International donates those shipments to their non-profit partners. 

Taking on the pivotal roles in the warehouse and administrative offices are Michelle Franzia and Stacey Fahrenbruch along with warehouse manager Martin Barajas who the women described as being “a huge part of our action out here in the warehouse and in the office as well.”

Barajas is kept busy with logistics and on his forklift during the fire season.  Two out-of-service Manteca ambulance units are parked behind the center waiting for placement in Uganda after they have been prepped to be in running condition and the need for them confirmed. 

Assist International designs and implements humanitarian programs in the areas of Global Health, orphaned and vulnerable children, drinking and clean water projects, and poverty solutions that build capacity, develop opportunities and save lives in the developing world.

In addressing the needs of the world’s most vulnerable people, Assist cares for orphaned and vulnerable children by developing and sustaining family-style orphan villages.  They are currently involved with orphanages in Romania, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Thailand.

Working with their partners they provide clean, safe water to people in the Third World where millions lack access to clean water.  That fundamental problem leads to disease, lack of education and poverty.  

In an attempt to reduce the thousands who die daily from curable diseases or treatable causes because of a lack of adequate health care, Assist has a wide range of programs and projects that aim to strengthen existing health systems. 

Noting that more than one billion people live on less that $1.25 a day with poverty contributing to malnutrition, lack of education and inadequate healthcare, Assist has developed programs that empower the poor to lift themselves out of poverty.

“We can change the world one child at a time” is an important part of their mission statement. 

Their associated World Vision Pallet Program serves 52 recipients throughout the Central Valley and Bay Area.  They include the Manteca-Lathrop Boys and Girls club, First Baptist Church of Ripon, HOPE Ministries, Inc., of Manteca; Inner City Action Inc, Manteca; Camp Taylor, Inc, Modesto; Love Ripon, Manteca Rotary Foundation, One Church, Ripon; Love’s Treasures, Manteca; Thrive Church, Lathrop; St. Jude Catholic Church, Ceres; Center for Human Services of Stanislaus County; Bethany Christian Services, Modesto; and others in San Jose, Oakland, Livermore, Dublin, Davis, Turlock, Fairfield, Stockton, Antioch, Merced, Fairfield, Riverbank, Coulterville, Rancho de sus Niño’s in Mexico and Oroville. 

To contact Glenn Kahl, email