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Give Back Collection Classified A Success
The Grinch stopped by the Give Back event hosted earlier this month in Riverbank to greet the guests and take some pictures.

The weather cleared up and the sun was out just in time for the Give Back event in downtown Riverbank. There were pop up tents in front of Hometown with people mingling around and the youth getting free haircuts.

The collaboration of Hometown shop owner Bruce Gong and Israel Flores with A Team production company along with some local sponsors continued the Give Back event for the sixth year, hosting it earlier this month. They collected several toys that will be donated to Central Valley Foster Care in Riverbank.

“We got plenty of toys again,” said Gong. “I lost count on the haircuts but I was cutting from 1 p.m. to about 6:30 p.m. So, I cut a little bit longer than the event. Santa was there. The Grinch came out, so it was just a real good time for the kids.”

For every person that donated a new unopened toy they received a raffle ticket that they could deposit in a variety of options.

“The turnout was great,” added Flores. “We were fortunate this year to have great weather; that was the upside and I think that played a huge part. A lot of people came out and we got a lot of donations. This is our way of giving back to the community. It kind of just grew to where we are now and slowly but surely every year it’s getting better and better.”

The event has stayed the same through the years with a bit more helping hands and sponsors. Flores expressed gratitude to his family that assists in making his events a success.

“I’m fortunate to have a great family, my mom, my sisters, my whole family,” stated Flores. “They helped me with everything. It’s very family oriented just like my business. We can all help each other out and no one asked for anything. We just make this happen.”

Flores started the A Team in 2016 and he says that it has been going really well. He has been a DJ for about 20 years and was inspired by his grandfather who was an entrepreneur. His company has done several events since the creation including parties and weddings.

The DJ was spinning some beats and kids got their faces painted as well as several got haircuts. Gong noted that he gave haircuts to kids from three years old on up to a freshman in high school.

The Grinch was a big hit with the kids and there were several pictures taken with him and Santa Claus at the event.

“My favorite part was just seeing everybody,” added Gong. “There was a lot of people I know that I had not seen for a long time that came together for this event. I was behind the chair for some time but seeing everybody and dropping off the gifts was a highlight for me.”

The food was catered by La Parilla and they offered rice, beans, and chimichangas. There was also hot chocolate and an assortment of pastries.

After hosting the event, Hometown is back to business as usual and so is the A Team.

“Seeing everybody come together is the most important thing to me,” expressed Flores. “Seeing the kids and their parents thanking us for doing such a great event and just having a good time. We were fortunate to have great weather. It made everything better. It just feels good to do a good thing to the best of my ability.”

The group plans to host another Give Back next year with hope to include more local businesses and maybe even bring in some entertainment to make it just a little bit bigger.

give back riv
The Give Back event was held in the downtown area this month to collect toys for Central Valley Foster Care in Riverbank.