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Helping struggling neighbors at Christmas
Gifts for family top
City finance department workers with the assistance of the Second Harvest Food Bank staff delivered Christmas gifts Wednesday to a Manteca family. Jessica Vaughan, Melissa Mays, Jeri Tejeda and Suzanne Mallory flank Raquel and Robert along with their three-year-old daughter. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

Four Manteca youngsters are going to have a Christmas after all.
Sixteen staff members of the City of Manteca Finance Department with added help from five Second Harvest Food Bank employees delivered presents for the children and a gift basket for their parents on Wednesday.
The mom, Raquel, broke into tears when she realized what was happening when the group knocked on the door of their south central Manteca home at noon with armloads of gifts and a promise that Manteca Ford dealer Phil Waterford was going to put their disabled pickup truck back in working order for them. 
They had been told by the food bank that there was a “Secret Santa” so they would have presents to open under their tree on Christmas morning.
Waterford had said the night before that he would take care of the problem with the truck so the young mom could go shopping as well as look for a job in the community. 
The dad, Robert, said he had been working nights at construction jobs in the San Jose and Redwood City areas getting time and a half wages because he was willing to work that night shift in an attempt to bridge the gap after the loss of his wife Raquel’s employment as an administrative assistant. He said he had told his boss that he would work any additional hours he could give him so he could better provide for his family while attempting to get some sleep during the day. 
The family’s lack of food in the home was covered by Good Samaritans who the food bank staffers had contacted and told of the family’s dire need in the week before Christmas.
All of those involved expressed the sentiment they were fortunate to be able to help the family. The family was very gracious to their benefactors and thankful they had moved to Manteca from the Bay Area to seek a better life despite the unexpected job loss that Raquel experienced.  Raquel also was advised by the municipal workers how to go on line and look for current opportunities for employment on the city’s website.

To contact Glenn Kahl, email