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Ray of Hope seeks donation of back-to-school clothes
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Wanted: Clothes for teenagers and youths – must be in good condition.

Ray of Hope has the tough task of furnishing back-to-school clothes for hundreds of local youngsters. Donations of these items and more are in great demand at the Children’s Shop, according to Laura Vieira, executive director of the non-profit organization.

“We’re faced with a tough challenge,” she said on Wednesday.

In the past, this back-to-school program received a big boost for those with severe needs, with Mervyn’s and Crossroads Grace Community Church providing support.

This year, however, Ray of Hope is faced with a dilemma of having more referrals coupled with the closure of the major retailer.

“We used to match funds with (Mervyn’s) but now that’s not possible,” Vieira added.

Instead, she’s relying on the Ray of Hope store located at 1030 W. Yosemite Ave. to clothes youngsters in need.

“The shop needs donation of children’s clothing,” Vieira said. “We need the clothing desperately in order to meet the needs of the children.”

Donations can be dropped off at the Children’s Store, Tuesday through Saturday, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., or at the main office, 204 N. Sherman Ave.

Meanwhile, Ray of Hope’s Adopt-A-Student program is off and running, offering individuals a chance to sponsor a youngster for the upcoming school year.

“It’s very similar to our Christmas program,” Vieira said.

Rather than scrolls, those participating can pick up a “diploma” – included here are the names of each youngster along with their grade level, favorite color and clothing size – at places such as Main Street Café, Curves, and other businesses looking to participate.

Kaiser Permanente, Doctors Hospital and Curves are chipping in for the backpacks, school supplies, and maybe some clothing, according to Vieira.

For more information, call (209) 823-3335.