Ray of Hope lost a key supporter of its Students Success Program in Mervyn’s.
The major retailer along with Crossroad Grace Community Church would work together to provide back-to-school clothing for children in severe need.
During these tough economic times, the non-profit organization is faced with more referrals than ever for the program.
Mervyn’s, however, is no longer in business, leaving Ray of Hope facing a big dilemma.
“We used to match funds (with Mervyn’s) but this year that’s not possible,” said Laura Vieira, executive director.
Her Children’s Shop is also in need of clothes, particularly with donations down and demands on the up.
“We need the clothing desperately in order to meet the needs of children,” Vieira added.
This year, Ray of Hope will offer individuals and businesses with an opportunity to sponsor a child in need, with the back-to-school program patterned after that of the Christmas program.
But rather than scrolls, this program will have available rolled up “diplomas” containing the name of the child, grade, clothing size and favorite color.
Vieira indicated that Kaiser Permanente, Doctors Hospital, and Curves will do their part by purchasing backpacks, school supplies, and, perhaps, some clothes.
But the community can also help out.
“Everyone can do so by cleaning out their children’s closets and donate what they’re no longer wearing,” she said. “And if it’s something your child once enjoyed wearing to school, imagine the joy it could bring to another child.”
This Ray of Hope program, according to Vieira, is critical to a youngster’s social well being as providing some of the tools for success.
“If children start school with their heads down, what does that say about the rest of the school year?” she asked. “As children continue in school, they are replenished with school supplies and more each trimester.
“This program reiterates the importance of every youngster’s education and the well being to our community.”
Vieira is hoping for churches, businesses and groups step up and help out these children in need.
“If anyone would like the name of a child, we have them. Lots of them,” she said.
Ray of Hope Children’s Shop is located at 1030 W. Yosemite Ave., and is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays.
Donations are also accepted at the main office, 204 N. Sherman Ave., Manteca.
For more information, call (209) 823-3335.
To reach reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org