For more than 50 years the Cambria Community Council has been directing the generosity of our good townsfolk into the hands of countless local nonprofit organizations that, in turn, benefit the community at large. They were at it again at their Feb. 5 meeting when they distributed $42,592.
“The council has received over 40-plus requests for grant money. We have met, reviewed, discussed, and decided which nonprofit will be awarded grants, and how much,” said council member Ramona Voge. In the end, 29 recipients received funding in amounts ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand.
Recipients included the likes of Boy Scouts, the YMCA United Nations program at the Santa Lucia Middle School and the Coast Union High School College Tour, as well as the Cambria Historical Society, Cambria Library and the Cambria CERT (Community Emergency Response Team).
Three organizations received “designated” grants, monies that were donated with a specific recipient in mind: Cambria’s Anonymous Neighbors (CAN), Cambria Adult Resources, Education and Support (CARES), and the Food Bank Coalition.
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These grants do not reflect the $5,000 committed to Allied Arts Association for its theater lighting project at the Old Grammar School. The agreement is that when Allied Arts is able to put together $20,000 for the project, the council will kick in their donation.
New this year, that Salvation Army has joined in with the Community Council to help with grants. Jim Rogers, representing the organization, awarded $1,500 in funds to Toys for Tots and Operation School Bell at the meeting.
Nonprofit organizations pick up applications for grants during a council meeting in October. They are given until Dec.1 to turn in paperwork and then, if approved, receive funding in February. Recipients are expected to report at one meeting of the year on activities made possible by these funds.
Cambria Community Bus
In other business, the council discussed the Community Bus, which is the other mission of the organization. Warren Gaye, member in charge of operations, reported that they will be picking up a new bus some time in April. The older of the two buses they run will be retired, “either donated to a local church or used as a trade-in on this new one,” said Gaye.
Those buses together average 2,200 miles per month with local trips, weekly trips into San Luis Obispo and monthly trips to Paso Robles.
“It costs $40,000 per year for both busses including the dispatcher, insurance and fuel. The Cambria General Store gives us a slight break on fuel. We use local labor for most repairs and tires (the spare was stolen off one bus within the last six months),” Gaye told the group.
They received a federal grant for the purchase of the new bus, but it is donations and volunteer drivers that make it run.
“We are in real need of drivers to take our aged or disabled patrons around. A good driving record and only a class C license are needed! I also could use a break on the managing … I’m 77 years old!” Gaye said.
Every September or October, Cambria and San Simeon residents are asked, when they receive an envelope in from the “Open Heart Fund,” to check the lint in their pockets and contribute what they can to help fund the many projects that make the community tick.