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UAW Local 76 donates 200 Christmas meals
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Two hundred needy families in the community will be able to sit down together and share a nutritious Christmas dinner.

That’s how many ham and turkey dinners will be distributed to families at HOPE Shelter, Raymus House, Love, INC, His Way Recovery, and Agape Villages Foster Family in Manteca during the holidays. The meals with all the trimmings are a gift from the United Auto Workers International Local 76 in cooperation with the union’s vice president Jimmy Settles.

“The vice president offered us the ability to help the people in our communities that are in need.  So I reached out to the mayor’s office for some help and they got me in contact with (Fire) Chief (Kirk) Waters. He gave me several names to talk to,” said Paul Kuchar, president of UAW Local 76 whose offices in Manteca is located at Phoenix Drive in the industrial park behind Home Depot.

The food will be ordered from the Safeway grocery store on South Main Street, which was selected because “they are a union facility; we were interested in working with union facilities,” Kuchar explained. Safeway manager David Fuller is working with the local union group in getting this philanthropic Christmas project launched.

He added they are working with the directors of each facility, developing a delivery process “to get the food to these people,” Kuchar added. The first delivery was made Friday morning to the Raymus House on South Union Road and its sister facility, the HOPE Shelter on West Yosemite Avenue. Agape Villages recieved theirs on Monday.

The food delivery to the other agencies will continue “over the next seven days,” said Kuchar.

Providing a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings is something “that we’re very proud of, and it makes us very happy,” he said.

The value of this Christmas dinner drive for needy families is not being disclosed by Kuchar and simply said, “it wasn’t a cost we incurred locally.”

This is neither the first time UAW Local 76 has provided for needy families at Christmas in this area.

“We’ve done other things with Agape and other organizations, but this is the first time that we’re providing dinner to the magnitude that we are doing now,” said Kuchar.

He said the ham or turkey “dinner kits” will come with all the trimmings – vegetables and sides and cake as well.”

If it proves to be a success, this Christmas dinner giveaway for needy families in the area could have an encore next year and may even see an increase in the number of meals provided, Kuchar said.

“We’d like to make this an annual event,” he said.