Thousands of Merced County families joined the ranks of Christians globally on Thursday, going to services to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas Day. Some residents began their Christmas celebrations by going to midnight mass, while others attended services later in the day. “The birth of Jesus -- that’s the reason for the season,” said Nancy Ayala, as she exited Christmas service at Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Thursday morning.
Nonprofits and churches came together on Christmas Eve in the hope of brightening the holiday for hundreds of people in Merced. Many people looking for some help during the holiday lined up outside the annual meal and toy giveaway at the American Legion Hall.
Sheriff Tom Cavallero on Wednesday formally passed command of the Merced County Sheriff’s Department to incoming Sheriff-elect Vern Warnke during a brief Honor Guard ceremony in front of the office he commanded for one year.
People waited as many as 10 hours to be one of the 500 households to have a bigger Christmas dinner thanks to a food giveaway Tuesday in Merced. The line of people looking for a helping hand waited, holding their vouchers in hand, to grab a turkey, a pound of almonds and a 5-pound block of cheese during the giveaway by developer Greg Hostetler and business owner Mike Gallo.