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Community’s Unsheltered Enjoy Holiday Celebration
Santa Claus called out the winning tickets during the raffle at the Christmas Party held for the less fortunate last week. Photo Contributed

There was a Christmas Party thrown for the less fortunate at the Assembly of God church this past week that consisted of a raffle for bikes, some gifts, and a hot meal. The event was coordinated by Riverbank Vice Mayor Luis Uribe, Thelma Louise with Riverbank Homeless Ministry, and Lori Davison.

The party was held in the hall at the Assembly of God where there was entertainment, warmth and lots of smiles. The guests were served posole, soup, and turkey sandwiches. The spirit of Christmas was in the air as people mingled and sang songs.

“Prior to the event I reached out to the community and started receiving donations and volunteers almost immediately,” stated Uribe. “City staff was very helpful in accepting donations from residents and delivering them the day of the event.”

Uribe added that the volunteers were Maria Elisa Garcia-Leon and her family, Promotoras of Riverbank, RPS Chief Ed Ridenour, Councilmember Darlene Barber-Martinez, Assembly of God volunteers, Linda Lagace, Daniel Alba, American Veterans First, and many more. Louise had her volunteers cooking the food and assisting in other ways.

The donations came from several community members including Jason Conway at the Modesto Union Gospel Mission, Promotoras of Riverbank, and American Veterans First.

“I invited Deputy Xiong and our newest Sergeant Howard, Hallie, and Rosie from Cambridge Academies as well because we all understand the importance of building relationships with our unsheltered neighbors,” said Uribe.

When Santa arrived he raffled off four bicycles and some other prizes were distributed. The volunteers then made sure all the donations were passed out to all the guests.

“It was really an amazing thing to see our most vulnerable, disconnect from their reality and enjoy this moment,” noted Uribe. “It was really a true moment of joy seeing them smile.”