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Ray of Hope Christmas dinner serves 500
William Rutledge, 13, of French Camp, proves you are never too old to sit on Santa’s lap during the Ray of Hope Christmas dinner Friday at the MRPS Hall. - photo by HIME ROMERO
The children of Daniel Escovedo and Martha Fisher were among the first in line for Friday’s Ray of Hope Christmas dinner.
“We both came here (to the MRPS Hall) by 4:30 p.m.,” said Escovedo, who was with his 9-year-old daughter Deanna.
Some 45 minutes later, they stood at the front of a line that stretched out along Grant Street towards the parking lot of the social hall.
Meanwhile, Fisher and her two children, Israel, 7, and Irene, 13, anxiously awaited for the festivities to begin. According to their mother, they attended last year’s Ray of Hope function and enjoyed a hearty meal and gifts.
“I can’t wait,” said Irene.
Meanwhile, Laura Vieira, Ray of Hope executive director, anticipated upward of 500 youngsters and their folks.
“The Christmas dinner and the Back to School (for needy kids) are two of our biggest functions of the year,” she said.
The Ray of Hope dinner was made possible by the generosity of the community.
Bob Raymus, who helped head a group volunteers, worked the kitchen filled with 250 pounds of chicken, six trays of mashed potatoes, several tubs of gravy, 10 trays of pasta, plenty of dinner rolls, and a large batch of salad.
He hoped he had enough food to feed the masses.
“I enjoy helping out,” Raymus said. “This is the first time in years that I’ve been able to come out here physically for the dinner.”
And given the current economic climate, he’s also aware of the number of those who go hungry in the area. “I’m involved with several (food) shelters including Hope Ministries,” Raymus said.
Vieira was proud of the estimated 70 volunteers who stepped forward to help out the cause.
Included were several agencies including the US Marine Corp (Toys For Tots drive) and local firefighters.
“Every year we help out,” said Manteca firefighter Traig Smith.
The firefighters union, in fact, donated several trays of pasta. “We do what we can to support Ray of Hope,” Smith said.