Ministry back with Columbia Park meal

TURLOCK — Church members trying to bring a little Christmas to the needy could use some help themselves.

By His Grace, a program of Holy Grounds Ministries, will be at Columbia Park this morning with food and toys for low-income and homeless children.

"We did a monthly outreach for 10 years," said coordinator Gaylene Marquez. "Due to finances, we had to stop in June."

But they're back today, and will be serving hot dogs and giving out toys and, they hope, take-home food packages for people who show up at the 11 a.m. event.

At last year's Christmas event, the church served about 100 people. Marquez expects more this year.

"We've gotten a lot of calls wanting to know where it is," she said.

Holy Grounds, which has churches in Turlock and Delhi, will have about 20 members at the park starting at 8:30 a.m. Marquez said the event is open to all comers, those who want to help and those who need it.

"People can come and volunteer, or bring toys," she said.

It's a grass-roots effort, aimed at helping many children who fall through the cracks of social services.

One teenage girl last year brought four younger siblings. "And a little boy came up last year who hadn't eaten for two days," Marquez said. "He said his mom and dad were loaded."

For more information, call Gaylene or Greg Marquez at 656-6682.

Bee staff writer Patty Guerra can be reached at or 578-2343.