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The sweet sound of helping others
Rivar Mason looks up in disbelief as he holds all the gift cards to all his favorite places after winning them as part of the raffle prize during Saturday’s “Fill the Need” benefit concert at the Manteca Senior Center. The event was hosted by Doctors Hospital and the “ReUnion Band.” - photo by HIME ROMERO/ The Bulletin
Two years ago, Christine Acosta had every intention of making the concert and blanket drive for the HOPE Family Shelters an annual event.

That vision, however, was sidelined last year when she ended up in Stanford Medical Center with health complications. It cast uncertainty over the event, which helps the Manteca non-profit shelters outfit each family with clean sheets and blankets that they get to take with them when they finally settle into their own living situation.

With her health back to normal, Acosta made good on her promise Saturday at the Manteca Senior Center with a performance by ReUnion/Bump City – both bands of which Acosta is a member – and a blanket drive that brought in bags and bags of bedding material for those who need it the most.

“I’m blessed with so many things in my life, and I just like to give back,” she said. “We do this because we love the music, and it’s just an added perk if we can give somebody something that they really need – there are so many people who don’t have anything.”

The event began with a performance by teen band Paragon. It is a group of young musicians that hang out around the rehearsals that Acosta hosts at her home every week.

And Acosta made some deep-hearted comments to the crowd about the nature of homelessness and how it doesn’t discriminate against anybody, even if they think that they’re above it.

“Think about it – if you lost that job tomorrow, would you be able to make your mortgage payment? Would you be able to make your car payment?” she asked. “It could all be gone, just like that. We’re here to help people who don’t have – that’s what this event is all about.”

Dozens of people kicked back in chairs set up at the back of the room and lined up along the wall near the stage to catch the action of both Paragon and ReUnion/Bump City – buying concessions to help Acosta and her friends also raise money for the HOPE shelter as well.

According to Donna Reed, who works with HOPE Shelter’s Executive Director Dave Thompson, she didn’t know what to expect when Acosta first came to her with the idea two years ago. She says the organization is grateful that people like Acosta are willing to go out of their way to help those in need.

“When she walked in our door and said she wanted to do this, I was blown away,” said Reed. “This really makes our job – it makes us realize that there are people out there that want to make a difference. It’s just amazing to see it here.”