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Ray of Hopes goal: Gifts for needy kids
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Ray of Hope is kicking off its ninth annual Christmas Guardian Angels program this week.

The event that grants wishes to hundreds of local needy youngsters via the Christmas Guardian Angels Scroll program is getting an early jump.

“Normally the agency starts the program after Thanksgiving,” said Ray of Hope executive director Laura Vieira. “But this year, a decrease in participation (of donors) has been a concern due to the economic woes many face.”

Some of the local businesses, however, have stepped up, including Kasier Permanente, Doctors Hospital, Delicato Vineyards, Crossroads Grace Community Church, and the firm of Nuemiller & Beardslee.

And with the need greater than ever, Ray of Hope is turning to companies, groups and churches to take names of children, thus, granting their wishes.

 “Food is a big wish every year for all of our kids but this year it’s exceptionally important,” said Vieira. “They’re struggling to have enough food daily.”

The Ray of Hope Christmas dinner can help ease the hardship.

The scrolls will once again be available around town at some of the local businesses.

Ray of Hope, according to Vieira, has already received the first set of names from Manteca Unified School District and is expected to get more names from the likes of Love Inc., CPS, social workers and other approved agencies.

Ray of Hope’s annual Christmas Guardian Angel dinner is estimated to attract about 500 children and scheduled for Dec. 16 at the Manteca Senior Center.

The local non-profit organization is looking for donations of desserts, pasta, or Martinelli’s apple cider.

Those interested can contact Toni Cabral at or Minerva Paniagua at

For more information, call Ray of Hope at (209) 823-3335, stop by 1030 W. Yosemite Ave., suite B, or log on to

To reach reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail