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Mantecas season of giving gets underway
Judy Vasquez decorates a tree for the upcoming 31st annual Holiday Affair being staged on Wednesday, Dec. 8. by the Manteca Soroptimists to raise funds for local non-profits. - photo by HIME ROMERO
The biggest thing in Manteca this time of year isn’t the twilight parade, homes with 130,000-plus lights, or even Santa’s arrival at his downtown hut.

It’s the opening of hearts and wallets to help those who are struggling in the community.

It ranges from the Turkeys R Us effort that collected $17,000 in donations to make sure 2,000 needy families in Manteca, Lathrop, and Ripon had turkey and the trimmings at Thanksgiving to the annual Costa’s Wild Game feed that attracts more than 1,000 people plus raises thousands in dollars for the needy as well.

Among those events is the Christmas party at Calvary Community Church at 815 W. Lathrop Road that’s talking place on Saturday, Dec. 11, from 3:30 to 9 p.m.

They have invited 50 struggling families - about 250 people in all - to share a day of family portraits, games, crafts, cookie decorating, story time, a sit down dinner, holiday groceries, raffle prices, a stocking from Santa and a present for each child. They also will be guests at this year’s church musical.

The musical is a perennial full-house. This year’s original production “Christmas Dreamin” takes place on Friday and  Saturday Dec. 10 and 11, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 12 at 2 p.m.

For more information call the church at 239-1345.

An event for socializing while helping assist others
One of the hottest tickets of the season is to the Manteca Soroptimists’ 31st Annual Holiday Affair.

Not only does the $75 ticket for the holder and a guest get a chance for cash gifts and a mountain of prizes, but it allows them to enjoy a complimentary cocktails and hors d’ oeuvres reception at the Bank of Stockton, 660 N. Main Street on Wednesday, Dec. 8, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

The Holiday Affair has been a sell-out virtually every year. All proceeds go to the Soroptimists’ Community Service Fund.

Projects benefiting include Raymus House events, Haven of Peace, Boys and Girls Club, Manteca Mural Society, Manteca Historical Society, Friends of the Library, Women’s Opportunity Award, Making a Difference for Women Award,  Treats for Our Troops, $6,000 yearly scholarships to high school seniors, the Manteca Unified School District’s Teen Crisis Center and many more community projects.

The Teen Crisis Center is the club’s signature project. The club has donated over $250,000 the past 20 years to help the Manteca Unified School District provide counseling services for teens at all schools in the Manteca Unified District.

School officials have credited the teen crisis counselors for substantially reducing the potential for young people to make decisions that could result in negative consequences on their academic performance, future career paths or even their health.

Tickets to the Holiday Affair are available at Tipton’s Stationery & Gifts, 169 W. Yosemite, 823-7644. You may also call Soroptimist members Judy Vasquez at 823-6644, Julie Azevedo at 239-1195 or any other Soroptimist member.

SJ Hospice tree lighting Wednesday
The Hospice of San Joaquin’s annual “Hospice Tree of Lights” ceremony is on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Doctors Hospital of Manteca, Cottage Avenue and North Street in Manteca.

Family and friends are invited to remember and honor loved ones by dedicating a light on the Doctors Hospital of Manteca Tree of Lights. To donate a light, call the Hospice of San Joaquin at 922-0242, or, visit Hospice of San Joaquin online at

Manteca tree lighting Thursday
Manteca’s official Christmas tree at the front entrance to the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St., will have its lights turned on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. by some lucky kid in the crowd.

Manteca Mayor Willie Weatherford has made it a holiday tradition to pick a kid in attendance at the last minute to flip the switch.

People are encouraged to bring homemade or purchased ornaments to hang on the tree after the lighting ceremony.

The fun gets underway in earnest afterwards as everyone is invited to the nearby Senior Center at 295 Cherry Lane where there will be a community sing-along, and a variety of entertainment. Santa will also give each and every child attending a gift. The evening will conclude with cookies and hot chocolate.

The Manteca Senior Center, Senior Center Advisory Committee and Manteca Parks & Recreation Department are hosting the event.

There is no charge. For more information you can call the Manteca Senior Center at 456-8650.