Your #1 source for News, Events & Information in Merced!







Don't forget to drop your spare change into a Salvation Army Kettle.

You will find them located at:


Big Lots
J C Penney
Hobby Lobby
Merced Mall
Salvation Army Office
Save Mart (G&Olive)


Save Mart
Super Wal-Mart



Click here to give food and toys for those in need

A Caring Hand

During the Christmas Seasons our hearts go out to those in need. Too often, though, its just a fleeting thought. The hustle & bustle of the holidays drowns out the cry for help. Take a moment and bring life into perspective. Lights and tinsel will pass, but to a hungry child, a homeless man, or a lonesome senior, Christmas is a grim reminder of their state of being. Follow your heart and offer a caring hand to those in need.

Below is a list of organizations to which you can share your life with others less fortunate. Give a Caring Hand and have a very Merrry Christmas.

See how others are helping




A Caring Hand is the Extension of the Heart


This Saturday, December 8th we have a great opportunity to double donations. A donor has donated funds to provide a matching grant for every $20 bill or larger or check donated in a kettle in Merced or Atwater this Saturday December 8th 11:00-7:00. We will have kettles at Hobby Lobby, Raly’s SaveMart in Atwater and Merced, and WalMart Atwater and Merced. The recent rainy days we have had have caused a large decrease in donations so this is a great opportunity to make up that difference. We are also in need of volunteers to ring the silver bells at a red kettle to bring holiday cheer and raise funds to make a difference in the community. On average, each hour volunteering provides food for a week for a family or a hot meal for 10 homeless people in our community. To volunteer for 2 hours or more visit

Services we provide

During Christmas 350 families receive a special Christmas food box as well as toys for each child

The Linked After School program provides a safe enriching opportunity for 40 children 4 days a week to receive homework help, a digital learning course on financial literacy and computer safety, music and art, recreation, and a character building troop program.

During the summer children can spend a week at camp in the redwoods of Scott’s Valley

The Saturday before school starts 250 children receive a backpack, school supplies, and a haircut as well as the entire family receiving a hot meal

Four days a week 100-150 people are provided a hot breakfast

Family Services provides food boxes, hygiene kits, emotional spiritual care.

In a disaster we provide hot meals, emotional and spiritual care, and work with other agencies to provide unmet needs

How the community can help

Register to volunteer for a 2 hour shift or all day at a kettle site at

Pick an angel tag off a tree at the Walmart in Merced or Atwater, Panera Bread, Central Valley Community Bank, M&M Realty, N&S Tractor, Fitness Republic, Tumble Time gymnastics, Merced Mall and purchase a toy and clothes for a local child.

Donate in a kettle

Mail a check to PO Box 191 Merced, CA 95341

Donate online at






December 1 , 2018

Congressman Costa Launches Annual Holiday Card Drive for Veterans and Military Servicemembers

Fresno, CA – Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) launched his annual holiday card drive for servicemembers and veterans today, continuing what has become a Valley holiday tradition.

Each year, Rep. Costa invites residents of California’s San Joaquin Valley to drop off or mail holiday cards to his Fresno and Merced district offices to be delivered to servicemembers and veterans. Costa also partners with local schools in Fresno, Merced, and Madera counties, where students make cards to thank these Valley heroes and wish them a happy holiday season.

“It is so important that we let our military servicemembers, veterans, and their families know how much we value them and everything they do,” said Congressman Costa. “Every year I hold the holiday card drive to encourage people across our Valley to join me in thanking our servicemembers and veterans, showing them just how much their service and sacrifice mean to us.”

Cards can be dropped off or mailed to Congressman Costa’s district offices through December 14th. All cards should be signed with first names only and a few lines of appreciation, and then placed in unsealed, unaddressed envelopes. Cards cannot contain glitter or images of guns, blood, war scenes, or death.

If mailing cards to Rep. Costa’s office for collection, please place cards in a separate envelope and send to:

Congressman Jim Costa
“Holiday Cards for Veterans”
855 M Street, Suite 940
Fresno, CA 93721

For more information, please contact Rep. Costa’s office at 559-495-1620 or 209-384-1620.

Congressman Jim Costa
signing cards

Congressman Jim Costa


Congressman Costa on Democratic Leadership for the 116th Congress

Washington, D.C. – Valley Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) released the following statement after the House Democratic Caucus voted on Caucus leadership positions and nominations for the 116th Congress:

“When the Democratic Caucus voted Wednesday on our leadership for the next Congress, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi received a significant majority of Caucus votes, but fell short of the 218 votes she will need on January 3rd to become the next Speaker of the House.

“Leader Pelosi and Congressman Jim McGovern worked closely with the Problem Solvers to make changes in the rules that I believe will positively impact the next Congress. But there are other concerns that I would like to see addressed before the January 3rd vote.

“The San Joaquin Valley, like many regions of our country, has challenges the next Speaker must commit to address. We need assurances that the House will focus on a bipartisan infrastructure proposal, one that would increase investments in our future water needs and improve transportation. We also must work to improve our healthcare system, lower prescription drug costs, and resolve ongoing immigration issues.

“In debates and candidate forums during the last campaign, I indicated I thought it was time to develop new leaders in the Democratic Party, which is important in ensuring that the diverse ideas of our membership are represented. I appreciate the effort Leader Pelosi has initiated that would provide opportunities for new leaders over the next two years. It will make a difference as we look forward to the elections in 2020 and beyond.

“It is my intention to continue my conversations with Leader Pelosi and other colleagues who have similar concerns.

“We have a chance to work together and show the American people that their faith in our democratic institutions is not misplaced. To do so, we must have a unified Democratic Caucus committed to doing the work necessary to improve the lives of those we have the privilege to represent. I am hopeful that my ongoing conversations with leadership will be successful. While I did not vote for Leader Pelosi this week in the Democratic Caucus, is it my hope to cast my vote for Speaker Pelosi on January 3, 2019.”


December 12, 2018

Deadline to Adopt-A-Family
December 12th

Contact Alex Kelly
(209)383-1265 ext 110


December 15, 2018


FIRE & COPS for KIDS Toy Drive 2018
The Merced City, Fire / Cops for Kids program is once again asking for the support of local businesses and citizens to provide Christmas gifts to Merced city children. The Fire & Cops for Kids Toy Drive has been providing toys and other gifts for needy families for 38 years now, and this year we hope to provide Christmas gifts to 1,400 local children ranging in age from 0-12 years old. The Fire & Cops for Kids program is solely dependent on the support of local businesses and individuals. You can help with this amazing project by donating new, unwrapped toys, agreeing to be a toy collection/drop off location, sponsoring a child/family, or giving monetary donations to the program.
This year we screened and selected 350 lucky families to receive toys. The toys will be age appropriate and are handpicked by our volunteers and public safety personnel. The toy give away will take place on Saturday, December 22, 2018 at the Merced Police Department South Station.
If you would like to send monetary donations, please make checks payable to:
The Merced Police Departments Recreation Fund, Tax ID # 94-6000371.
Again, we will gladly and gratefully accept gift cards, cash, and toys, and 100% of all donations will go directly to the purchase of toys for the toy drive.
Thank you in advance for your support!
Contact information: Volunteer In Police Services (VIPS), Lola Barnett (209) 384-4185
Fire Captain, Ryan Wells (209) 385-4776
Police Community Liaison, Eugene Drummond (209) 385-6297
Happy Holidays!
Eugene Drummond
Police Community Liaison
Merced Police Department



December 22 , 2018


FFA Students Extend School Efforts Through the Holiday Break

Written by: Alyssa Carrillo, Atwater FFA

Throughout the holiday season and winter break, hundreds of Atwater FFA members took part in various holiday and community service projects that represented the joy, spirit, and good will associated with Christmas and the New Year holidays.

During the last week of the 1st semester, just before the Christmas break, over 200 Atwater FFA students braved the cold weather and rain while gathering at the Ag Department for the annual “Morning Wave” at 6:30 am. The idea was created by FFA advisor Dave Gossman who, while residing in Bermuda in the late 1990’s, was inspired by the country’s famous Johnny Barnes who stood at the road leading into the city of Hamilton every weekday morning (rain or shine) to wave and greet everyone driving into work. For the past fifteen years, the Atwater FFA utilizes its December FFA meeting as a way to gather and socialize over hot chocolate, hot cider, and muffins and proceed to the main corner of the school to greet, wave, and wish everyone a “Happy Holiday” and “Merry Christmas” season. “It’s been a great tradition,” said FFA advisor Sam Meredith, “The best part is seeing the smile and enthusiasm on the passerby’s driving in their vehicles. I think we make their day!”

Throughout the end of the semester and during the winter recess, the Atwater High School Floral Design students participated in making Christmas wreaths and other Christmas floral arrangements for family and community members. “It’s an opportunity for ‘hands-on’ learning and applying one’s knowledge, skill, and creativity on a class related project that brings happiness over the holiday season,” said AHS agriculture instructor Kaylyn Davenport. Nearly 150 wreaths and Christmas floral arrangements were sold and delivered throughout the community.

Just prior to the Christmas holiday, the entire 1100+ Atwater High School agriculture student body participated in a month long canned food drive where over 5000 canned food items were collected by students just prior to the semester/winter break. The cans were donated to the Rotary Club and distributed to families throughout the local Atwater Community. In addition to the canned food, students harvested organs from local community growers who donated them to the cause. “I think the experience of delivering the food to families in need throughout the community was a powerful impact with our students as they understood firsthand how fortunate they are in comparison to the challenges many in our community face,” said FFA advisor Kim Macintosh. “The enthusiasm and efforts of our students towards the gift of “giving” is really what the holiday season is all about.”



For more information on the Atwater High School Agriculture Department and Atwater FFA, please log on the website .

For the fifteenth year in a row, nearly 200 Atwater High School agriculture students gathered for a morning meeting followed by the "morning wave" in front of the school as part of their annual holiday cheer.

Atwater High School FFA members Hayley Vargas, Aaliyah Keene, Gilbert Rios, Morgan Cook, Gabriela Moreno, and Elaisha Gaeta help load over 5000 canned food collected by Atwater FFA members during the last week of the semester.

Atwater High School agriculture student Jaylen Allison shows his enthusiasm while making Christmas wreaths in his Floral design class at the high school.

Atwater High School Floral Design class and agriculture student Eroka Silva spends time during her holiday school recess on making holiday floral arrangements ordered by community members in support of the school's student-run floral shop.


December 7, 2018

Travis Credit Union Brings Holiday Joy to the Needy Continued

As the holiday season approaches, it is time to remember those in our community who are financially unable to provide holiday gifts for their families. Many of our branches will be adopting a family for the holidays. To help meet that need, Travis Credit Union staff work to purchase gifts, new shoes, clothing, toys and sometimes even a Christmas tree for the family. Adopting a family for Christmas is a very rewarding and hands-on way to share holiday cheer with the neediest among us.
To show respect and appreciation, employees will be coming together with the community to honor our fallen Veterans at the Annual Wreath Laying event in Dixon on Saturday, December 15, 2018, at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in Dixon.
Employees also participate in Operation Cookie Drop by baking and hand delivering cookies to airmen living on Travis Air Force Base during the holidays. To ensure that all airmen experience holiday cheer at TAFB, Travis Credit Union will sponsor the USO’s Operation Home Away From Home meals to airmen at their duty location on Christmas Day.

Christmas Wish 2018 – TCU employees gathering gifts


“Through these programs and others like them, we are reaching out to people in need,” says Barry Nelson, president and CEO of Travis Credit Union. “We are proud to be helping the community and at the same time making a difference in people's lives.”
Headquartered in Vacaville, California, Travis Credit Union is a not-for-profit cooperative financial institution serving those who live or work in Alameda, Colusa, Contra Costa, Merced Napa, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, and Yolo Counties. Currently, Travis Credit Union is the 14th largest credit union in California with more than 203,000 members and more than $3.1 billion in assets. As one of the leading financial institutions in Solano, Contra Costa, Yolo, Napa and Merced Counties, Travis Credit Union’s strength lies in its faithful commitment to its members and the community; its solid, secure history; and its long-standing track record of dedicated service.


November 27, 2018


FFA Leads School in Operation Christmas Child

Written by:: Atwater FFA

The holiday season is associated with “giving” and as a time to help others. A highlighted example of this spirit is Atwater High School’s FFA program that was originally inspired three years ago by Atwater FFA graduate Amanda Skidmore who inspired and led the students at Atwater High School in “Operation Christmas Child. This year it was organized and executed by the Community Service committee and chairs Sophia Rhoades and Tyler Brawley. The program is coordinated through an organization called Samaritan’s Purse where school supplies, toys, and hygiene items are collected and placed in shoe boxes and distributed globally to impoverished countries.

“We wanted to continue the tradition that was started,” said Tyler Brawley. “Knowing you can touch someone else’s life and make a difference is truly the best feeling one can have, especially around the Holidays.”

Sophia and Tyler’s goal was to get at least 200 shoe boxes organized prior to the Christmas holiday. They communicated with the Atwater High School Leadership class and FFA Leadership class in organizing the event. The process expanded out to other departments and classes at Atwater High School. The school participated with various donations of goodies that went into each box. When it was all completed, over two hundred boxes of various items was delivered to the Samaritan's Purse location in Merced, loaded on a semi-truck, and shipped off to various countries where the boxes will travel via boat, plane, train, camel, and foot to various children and families.

Atwater High School Agriculture students and FFA members Stefanie Anguiano, Adrianna Lopez, Jennifer Velazquez, Paola Rivera, Tyler Brawley, Jose Montanez, and Chelsea Thompson joined their Ag Leadership classmates in organizing and colecting boxes for Operation Christmas Child over the recent holiday break.


“This was a school-wide and community effort,” said Sophia Rhoades. “It’s about making a positive difference in the lives of people and the effort of implementing the holiday spirit of giving.”

For more information on the Atwater High School Agriculture Department and Atwater FFA, please log on the website .



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18th Annual Flanagan Realty Drop _Off Donation

Drop off canned goods, coats, blankets, or new unwrapped toys
Flanagan Square - 2098 G Street, Merced
For more information, call 723-4337

BBVA Compass Bank
3065 G Street

Salvation Army
For information, call 383-4225

Firefighters & Kops for Kids
For information, call 384-4185

Merced County Food Bank
For information, call 726-3663

Merced Rescue Mission
For information, call 722-9269


Or Contact Your Home Church

See how others are helping

Merced County Food Bank is collecting can food and non-perishable items.

Here are their locatons


10. AAA*



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