The countdown has begun.
Santa is busy slimming down before consuming dozens of cookies and gallons of milk left by grateful children (it will also make shimmying down tight chimneys a bit easier).
Rudolph and his fellow reindeer are resting up for their big night of circling the globe, and merry elves are working non-stop in their North Pole workshop to meet Santa’s deadlines - all signs that the holiday season has arrived.
In keeping with the spirit of giving, Mountain Area elves have been hustling busily at grocery stores and schools, all with the single-minded purpose of collecting food items that will directly benefit those served by Manna House.
Raley’s Food For Families just kicked off its 30th Annual Holiday Bag Drive, with the goal of raising 2.8 million meals to help area food banks throughout Northern California and Nevada. All donations made in Oakhurst will benefit Manna House.
“Raley’s Food For Families holiday bag campaign is an easy way to give the gift of good nutrition,” said Becca Whitman, Food For Families executive director. “With a $10 donation, you are helping your neighbors with staple items like peanut butter, tuna, bananas, carrots, potatoes, pasta and more.” This year’s holiday bag will once again include a gallon of milk.
When a customer purchases a $10 food bag, Raley’s will place food items with a retail value of $30 inside, which will provide 20 meals. To increase that value, Dec. 3 has been designated “you give, we give” day (like a two-for-one deal), where customers can purchase a food bag and Raley’s will donate a second bag to match it.
Along with the bags of groceries, Raley’s is also selling teddy bear “Buster Cozy,” at a price of $10, $4 of which will be funneled through Food for Families for Manna House.
Donations can also be made through Dec. 31 at check stands, online at foodforfamilies.org/donate or on Facebook.
Just across Highway 49, the community can purchase a bag of groceries for $10 at Vons, which includes two cans of soup, a can of tuna, of corn and green beans, a jar of peanut butter, and package of spaghetti and spaghetti sauce. This food drive, also, runs through the end of December.
A large box has been placed inside Grocery Outlet Bargain Market for customers wishing to donate canned goods or dry food products. Employees at Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino are holding a food drive, and youngsters have been busy collecting for the cause. Rivergold Elementary School recently delivered 2,200 food items to Manna House, while Coarsegold Elementary delivered 1,500 items.
“If it weren’t for donations from the churches, businesses, grocery centers, schools and individuals in the Mountain Area, we wouldn’t be able to open our doors,” Manna House Food Manager Bruce Bartlett said.
“Manna House is very proud that the community reaches out to us with such generosity that we can better provide for those in need - and that they may know the love of our savior, Jesus Christ.”
Holiday give aways
The Manna House Thanksgiving give away, with traditional foods, will take place 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Nov. 22. Food manager, Bruce Bartlett, has ordered 275 meals. Sign ups will run up to the day of the give-away.
The Christmas give away, with food and toys, will be held 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Dec. 20. The sign up deadline is Dec 19.
Manna House bell ringers will be out in the community, Nov. 18-19 for the Thanksgiving holiday, and Dec. 9, 10, 16 and 17 for Christmas.
Just as in past years, the clothing department will close Dec. 12 to give Santa and his cheery workers time to work their magic in transforming Manna House into a dazzling toy shop.
Following the Christmas give-away, Manna House will be closed until Jan. 3, 2017.
About Manna House
Manna House has been meeting its mission to minister to those in need with dignity for decades. It was founded in 1982 for the specific purpose of providing a Christian emergency food and clothing bank to the needy.
The non-profit organization can be found on Facebook and donations, which are tax deductible, can be made through PayPal.
Details: Manna House, (559) 683-6262.