Bay City News

Mission sees demand surge at event providing free meals and gifts for all - Bay City News
January 12, 2023
Modesto Gospel Mission sees demand surge at event providing free meals and gifts for all - Bay City News

Marisol Vargas said she and her three children had waited outside for four hours for the event because she didn’t have enough money to buy her children anything for Christmas this year.

“It feels good because we’re able to come to a place that helps with food and gives to the kids during these times,” Vargas said.

Gifts for all ages
After families were fed, they made their way to a room filled with unwrapped Christmas presents that included dolls, train sets, toy car sets, Bluetooth speakers, blankets, coffee makers and air humidifiers.

Kids were not the only ones allowed a gift; adults were able to select a present too.

According to Conway, since January the mission had been collecting gift donations from community members and organizations in order to have the large selection of gifts offered at the event.

However, with the changing economy, Conway said this year they did see a decrease in the amount of toys they received and had an increase in the amount of people that needed help.

Expecting mother Mariana Montoya said she had come across the event details while on Facebook.

She said the event helped her financially because not only did it provide her and her child a meal, but it also helped her save money since her son was given a toy.

Justin Flora, a volunteer, said he felt that since he had been blessed with so much in life it felt like a blessing to be able to see others be blessed with gifts.


Victoria Franco is a reporter based in Stockton covering San Joaquin County for Bay City News Foundation and its nonprofit news site Local News Matters. She is a Report for America corps member.