Transformed Through Hope Ministries won’t go to great lengths to celebrate its seventh anniversary this Sunday.
“We’re just going to have regular service,” pastor Cynthia Jackson said. “We’re not into all that pomp and circumstance. We’re just doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”
And what is this congregation of less than 100 doing?
“We try to do things of substance,” Jackson said. “We have a committed group that is growing spiritually and taking on caring about others.”
The ministry brought those words to life recently with an outreach event benefitting Manteca’s homeless. Jackson and 32 other volunteers fed more than 200 homeless, providing lunch and care packages for the men, women and children of the street.
Care packages included basic toiletry items, such as soaps, deodorants and lotions, as well as sandals and socks. The ministry’s lunchtime menu covered all the staples of a backyard barbecue: tri-tip and chicken, rice and green beans, pasta and rolls. There was dessert, too.
“It was amazing,” Jackson said. “I thought we might see 300, but to get 200 and have four of them come back to church the next day was amazing. We’re hoping they’ll stay the course and try to live life the best they can.”
Jackson said the event illustrated just how dire the homeless issue is in Manteca. Among the 200 guests were men, women and children who emerged from society’s many dark corners – the motels on Moffat Boulevard, shelters, overpass hideouts and parked cars.
“We even took meals back to the hotels for the families that couldn’t be there,” Jackson said. “We took food to the women that didn’t show up from the shelters. We’re just trying to do the little things.”
“The little things” received big-time support from some of the business sector’s major players.
In addition to partnering with Hampton Inn, Transformed Through Hope Ministries received donations and volunteers from Staples, Starbucks and Walmart.
Volunteers mingled with the homeless, exchanging small talk and stories, while they enjoyed their meals. Jackson said the homeless weren’t necessarily looking for handouts but information and fellowship.
She recalled one homeless woman – a mother with her children – who worried aloud about not knowing the basic requirements for low-income housing. She had money, but feared it wasn’t enough to rent an apartment.
Whether by coincidence or divine intervention, she was paired with an authority on apartments who mapped out what she needed to do to qualify.
“A lot of us asked, ‘What is it? How long have you been out there? What do you like to do?’ We had women asking about resources,” Jackson said. “It’s about giving people information. You find that some of them want to be out there, but there are some that don’t want to be out there.”
Transformed Through Hope Ministries is located at 201 W. Alameda Street. For more information, contact 209.815.9815.