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Telethon target: $125K to help support programs for 1,500 youth
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Demand is up and donations are down.

It is the lot of non-profits across Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop due to the sluggish economy.

The Boys & Girls Club of Manteca-Lathrop is no different.

Attendance and membership are both up as donations have dropped.

Executive Director Charlie Halford has been accepting less than half his salary for several years in a bid to keep staffing levels that serve kids directly as high as possible. The club still has had to trim back. Even with reduced manpower, the club is working on ways to steer kids into making the right choices as well as provide things for them to do in a safe environment.

It makes the upcoming 27th annual Boys & Girls Club Telethon on Monday, Nov. 21, and Tuesday, Nov. 22,  even more critical than usual. The telethon is the largest source of funding for the club that serves 1,500 youth at locations in Manteca and Lathrop.

The goal this year is to raise $125,000 during the event broadcast live over Comcast Cable TV and the Internet from 5 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 21 and 4:30 to 11 p.m. on Nov. 22.

The telethon committee is starting to line-up groups and individuals to help collect pledges and staff the phone banks. That effort - often in securing $10 and $20 donations - typically accounts for the bulk of the $100,000 plus the telethon raises each year.

If you would like to help with the phones and pledge collecting contact Fire Chief Kirk Waters at 456-8300.

Waters is a product of the San Mateo Boys Club that he credits with helping steering his life in the right direction. Waters serves on the Boys & Girls Club board of the Manteca-Lathrop organization.

For those who wish to help secure auction items or help with other aspects of the telethon contact the Boys & Girls Club at 239-KIDS.