By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Distribution Due For Toys, Food
Placeholder Image
Both Christmas food and toys will be distributed on Tuesday when Christian Food Sharing, St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church, the City of Riverbank, Sheriff's Department, Fire Department, Salvation Army, Riverbank Oakdale Transit Authority and Storer Transit Systems join forces to help the needy.

This is an effort to coordinate the services of numerous smaller groups and serve all deserving families and individuals at one time and place instead of continuing the fragmentation that typically occurs year after year, said City Social Services Director Norma Torres Manriquez.

The event will be hosted at the Community Center from 10 a. m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 23. Those interested will be asked to register ahead of time and show proof of local residency. For more information call 863-7153.

The group is collecting toys all over town with donation boxes located in the Stanislaus County Sheriff and Stanislaus Fire Protection department offices, City Hall, Designs by Karen, Petco, Staples, Nifty's and Riverbank High School. A ROTA trolley serving as a mobile collector will make its last run today, Dec. 17, when it will be at Riverbank High from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Christian Food Sharing runs the city's largest food distribution center at the Scout Hall on High Street every Friday morning. But the St. Vincent de Paul Society at St. Frances of Rome and several other churches including the Assembly of God and Christ the King Episcopal Church run their own weekly or monthly programs.

As is usual in winter and a declining economy, the figures for recipients have been rising rapidly.

"Thanksgiving was huge. We served 157 families or the equivalent of about 500 people," said Christian Food Sharing's Linda Silva, who was supervising in place of an ailing Bernice Bick at the last distribution. The Dec. 5 event served 75 families or about 280 people and the distribution before that, 93 families or about 300 people.

The St. Vincent de Paul operation serves much smaller numbers but offers the needy many other services besides food, said Scott McRitchie. The group depends entirely on donations rather than a state grant like Christian Food Sharing so it does not have to file income eligibility records and can make it own rules on whom its serves and how.

"We take them as they come. We know we get some freeloaders. But we try to serve all," said McRitchie. "We used to get seven to 10 people a week applying. Now it's sometimes 60."

St. Vincent's has a free clothes closet, assists the needy to meet PG&E and other utility bills and will even assist with medical bills and in any way it can afford.