Operation Dreamkeeper keeps local children smiling

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One year ago, Antoinette Foutz-Contreras came into a Delta College Plant Science class and talked about Operation DreamKeeper.

Operation Dreamkeeper is one of the largest toy giveaway programs for disadvantaged children in Stockton.

It provides Christmas for boys and girls ages 5-10.

The program is a non-profit organization that is run by volunteers.

“I have been a volunteer for Operation Dreamkeepers for the last four years,” said Foutz-Contreras.

Volunteers for Operation Dreamkeeper also raise money and gather gifts for the biggest Christmas party in town.

The party includes live puppet shows, a Nativity scene, appearances from Stockton mascots and gifts for every child in attendance.

“One of my good friends told me about the program and asked me to volunteer at the Christmas party in 2009. It was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life!

The excitement, the smiles, the laughter, I had never seen anything like it. I knew at that moment, I wanted to do more for this program,” said Foutz-Contreras about how she got involved working with this non-profit.

A recent tragedy happened to Operation DreamKeeper.

A thief stole the toys from the children in Stockton.

On Oct. 28, the storage place where the organization held toys for this year’s Christmas party was broken into.

The thieves stole about $2,000 worth of toys. It was a devastating act for the organization, not only because these toys were taking from our children in need, but because they where so close to this year’s Dec. 21 party.

Operation DreamKeeper now finds itself struggling to replace the toys.

But the goal is still to serve the children of Stockton this year.

“The results have been phenomenal. For one day we are making a difference We provide them with Laughter, we provide them with fun, and we let them know that we care. We are making a difference in a child’s life. Our program has continued to grow, last year we served 700 children in Stockton. This year we are expecting to serve 925 children,” said Foutz-Contreras.

The goal of Operation DreamKeeper is to let the children of Stockton know there is hope and put a big smile on the their faces, said Foutz-Contreras.

To donate or volunteer for Operation DreamKeeper please contact Antoinette Foutz-Contreras at (209) 981-8250 or by e-mail at steven.contreras82@yahoo.com. Volunteer David Cloxton can also be contacted at (209) 469-7098.

More information about the organization can be found at goodsamaritantrainingcenter.org.

TO HELP OUT

Those wishing to donate money can make checks payable to:

Good Samaritan Training Center
Memo: Operation Dreamkeeper
1331 E. Fremont Street
Stockton, CA 95207