National City

Hundreds Receive the Gift of Christmas From a Family That's ‘Been There'

The Ministry of Jerusalem has helped thousands of families over the years

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He pumped and pumped and pumped. Then Jose Mendoza pumped some more until more than 240 soccer balls were ready for families who might struggle this Christmas.

“A lot of families struggle,” said the 18-year-old as he pumped up another ball.

Mendoza’s family runs the Ministry of Jerusalem in conjunction with the Emmanuel Church in National City. Friday, the ministry and volunteers hosted another weekly drive-thru for hundreds of families who needed a little help.

“I tell everybody, ‘Bring your trunk empty. Empty! Because it’s going to be blessed,” said Jose’s father, Joe Mendoza.

The senior Mendoza is the ministry’s director. He said they’ve been doing at least one food drive-thru a week since the pandemic began. However, Friday’s event passed out food, Christmas presents, and decorations.

“It makes me feel so, so humble,” said Joe.

The drive-thrus mean a lot to his son because he said his family struggled in the past as well.

“Some days we didn’t have meals. We had a little money,” he explained.

The recent Sweetwater High School graduate said the family rebounded.

“And we’re thankful for that,” he said as he pumped up another ball. “So, what we do now is give to people in need.”

“Hearing my son speak that way, makes me really proud,” beamed Joe.

“It just brings me happiness of knowing that I’m going to put a smile on somebody’s kid’s face,” concluded the younger Mendoza.

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