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WR students help homeless classmates
Weston Ranch
From left, Alexia Geller, Daniella Aguilar and Solei Marie Marriott were part of the distribution of care packages.

 Helping the homeless and less fortunate.

For Weston Ranch High sophomores Daniella Aguilar, Solei Marie Marriott and Alexia Geller, this is a great feeling. They helped in getting donations for the care packages consisting of blankets, socks, soup, snacks and other items for those in need during the holidays.

The spirit of giving had extra meaning for Marriott and Geller.

For Marriott, she and her mom were homeless and living in a shelter for several months during the summer.

Geller bounced around, going from an upstate New York town to sunny southern California while staying with her grandparents.

“I grew up homeless,” she said at Tuesday’s care package distribution event at WRHS.

At age 8, Geller was living right down the way at the Mary Graham Children’s Shelter in French Camp when she ended up the foster care of a couple who later adopted her.

She was among the lucky ones.

“Just having very little made me appreciate everything,” Geller said.

She along with Marriott and Aguilar are part of the English II class taught by James Burns.

They were challenged by their teacher to thinks of way of impacting the campus community.

Burns posed the same challenge to his English I students made up mostly of freshmen – they managed to put together snack bags consisting of soup, hot cocoa, granola bars or crackers, and personalized notes of encouragement.

Marriott used social media to get the word around on the donation drive. Her posts were re-tweeted by the Marines and 209 Times.

Stockton City Councilman Jesus Andrade, for one, responded by donating money.

Geller used her connections to get hold of the Sikh Riders. The local chapter responded by donating 40 brand-new queen-sized blankets.

“We started off slow (on the donation drive) and then it all blew up in one day,” said Aguilar, who was overwhelmed by the strong response.

All told, the Weston Ranch group put together 110 care packages, spending the next two days prior to Thanksgiving doing the distribution.

“We learned a lot about generosity of others,” Marriott said.

They also learned that one-fourth of the Manteca Unified documented homeless were enrolled at WRHS.

Homeless, by definition, includes those housed in a shelter, motel, living with friends and family, or any temporary accommodations due to economic or family hardships.

Manteca Unified, with an overall enrollment nearing 25,000, had a peak of 1,086 homeless students.