Ray of Hope look­ing for new lo­ca­tion

Ripon Bulletin - - Front Page - By VINCE REMBULAT The Bul­letin

Ray of Hope is sud­denly with­out a home. The lo­cal non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion known for work­ing dili­gently with re­fer­rals from Child Pro­tec­tive Ser­vices along with other ap­proved agen­cies to pro­vide the ba­sic needs of chil­dren in cri­sis re­turned to Man­teca last Septem­ber and is go­ing through some tough times.

Ac­cord­ing to ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Laura Vieira Saun­ders, Ray of Hope and other places in the South Mel­lon Av­enue in­dus­trial build­ing were re­cently ousted.

She al­leged that one of the build­ing’s own­ers put them in this bind by walk­ing away.

“There was no no­tice,” Saun­ders said on Mon­day. “They col­lected our money (for the past three months) and never paid the rent on the build­ing.”

As a non-profit, she’s in the process of wait­ing for cer­tain fund­ing to come in. By that, Ray of Hope is with­out the funds to up and move. Saun­ders had jump­started the or­ga­ni­za­tion some four months ear­lier af­ter a seven-year ab­sence. She told the Bul­letin in Novem­ber that the rea­son for the hia­tus was her late hus­band’s ter­mi­nal ill­ness cou­pled with her daugh­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with an in­cur­able dis­ease that left her blind.

Upon her re­turn, Saun­ders was sur­prised to see that Ray of Hope was needed more than ever.

“We never imag­ined how much the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s de­mands would grow,” she said.

The hol­i­days were marked with the re­turn of the Christ­mas Guardian An­gel Program, with chil­dren be­ing re­ferred to by the likes of CPS, Sec­ond Har­vest Food Bank, Give Every Child A Chance, St. Paul’s Food Pantry, and lo­cal law en­force­ment, to name a few.

Saun­ders is baf­fled by the re­cent turn of events.

All sig­nage on the build­ing were also re­moved.

“The busi­ness owner will not re­turn calls. How­ever, one of the part­ners – un­aware that the build­ing was not paid – at­tempted to save the build­ing but was un­suc­cess­ful,” she said.

Saun­ders added: “Ev­ery­one is apolo­getic but that doesn’t help us. With­out a fa­cil­ity, we can’t be­gin our di­a­per drive for our Ba­bies in Cri­sis Program (in Jan­uary).”

Other plans in­cluded the de­sign of the Sex­ual As­sault Program.

“Our work is im­por­tant and we are counted by our need­i­est chil­dren. The re­fer­rals we get are for chil­dren in great strife and con­sis­tency is im­per­a­tive for them so we can’t just give up,” Saun­ders said.

Ray of Hope is in dire need of any avail­able office space while wait­ing for fund­ing to come through.

“We have bud­geted the of­fices we can’t do any­thing more than that since we just came back,” said Saun­ders. “We have yet to do any fundrais­ing.

“If any­one has an avail­able office space, I ask them to please reach out to us – we have kids count­ing on us.”

For more in­for­ma­tion, call 209.883.6255 or e-mail Laurasaun­ders@ray­ofhopekids.com.

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