by Doris Knowlton
H.O.P.E. Sanger formed six months ago when a small group bonded together to give hot nourishing meals to those in need. Julie Mendoza is the leader of this successful organization and she loves every minute of the fast pace and heavy workload. H.O.P.E. Sanger is made up of about 25-people which includes pastors from 11-local churches.
Every Saturday morning a group of dedicated workers, some from local church youth groups, meet in various church kitchens and cook delicious meals. They started with 100 meals and have grown to 200. On Easter the children’s meals included Easter eggs and a small toy.
Drivers deliver the meals in and around Sanger and Del Rey. Delivering the meals allows H.O.P.E. Sanger to extend a friendly hand and to learn of special needs. Some examples of special needs this group has worked to fill are giving a bed to a family that was sleeping on the floor, driving a man suffering from a toothache to the dentist, and at times they give financial assistance. During the severe cold weather the City of Sanger opened a warming center and H.O.P.E. volunteers were there to help and stayed over night.
Each Monday evening from 5:30 until 6:30 there is a planning session at the Catholic Church on “O” and 9th Streets. The small classroom in back of the church is filled with love and enthusiasm. The planning of the next meal, the volunteers to cook and the food donations go quickly and smoothly. Two times a month clothing distributions are offered. The Pastor of Sierra Vista Community Church, Jeri Wagoner, has the space available to store and sort the donated clothes and household items for this project.
When I joined H.O.P.E. Sanger as a representative from the Sanger Woman’s Club, I thought that they were the most fired up and hard working group ever and I had to ask, “How long can you keep up this pace?” The answer was simple, “Forever with God’s help.”
H.O.P.E Sanger’s goal is to eventually have their own facility with a kitchen and the space needed to offer additional services. At this time they are in the process of acquiring their non-profit status. This will be a big step toward achieving their goal.
For more information, to volunteer or make a donation, please contact Julie Mendoza at 559-824-4280.