South Bay Seniors People Helping People started in 1972 as a grassroots nonprofit organization to help meet the needs of local seniors.
Based at the South Bay Community Center, it is now Los Osos’ primary lending source of medical equipment and distributes food Wednesdays to 50 to 70 low-income people.
Director Jerri Walsh says the group has provided more than 114,000 bags of food over the years. “And climbing every week,” she said. “Just last week, an elderly, disabled woman called. She and her husband did not have enough money for food after paying their Medicare insurance.
“They wanted to know the procedure for obtaining food. He came today. I worried about them because our food supply was rather meager.
“Each family received a plastic bag of fresh veggies, some breads, one sweet ‘goodie’ from Costco’s bakery. This week is better with our monthly USDA giveaway, which gives out a lot more staples. We can only do so much with a budget under $10,000, and yet the need is ever greater.”
Annually, volunteers sustaining PHP’s programs are celebrated at an annual dinner. Milton Moos and Ellis Bonetti were honored posthumously.
Howard Myers remembered Moos, his friend and fellow volunteer.
“Milt was helping the Lions give out bakery goods. I offered to help. This was back about 1995. He was retired from General Motors and did some automotive repair in Morro Bay.
“Well, he called me back to help him with a project.
“We became friends picking up donated food from Lucky’s, Albertsons, Cookie Crock — making the rounds four or five days a week.
“People Helping People didn’t have room to store it. Milt lived alone and had enough money to build them a storage shed. He stored it at no charge. He was always generous with his money.”
Bonetti, an area rancher, volunteered with PHP after his wife, Elizabeth, passed on. He helped with Wednesday’s food distribution and visited the elderly and ill.
“Both gentlemen had the best smiles and gave the best hugs,” Walsh said during the presentation. “By unanimous decision,” she said, “Aleida Lund is the Volunteer of the Year. She is often the first to arrive at the food giveaway and works her tail off. She also volunteers for the Salvation Army bell ringing and the Food Bank Drive with her dog Dude.”
Congratulations also went to Jan Kramer for many years as treasurer, former PHP office manager Phyllis Allebe and Central Coast Quota members Lana Holladay, Barbara Ramsdell, Rosemarie Kratz and Cellia Zaentz for their dedicated service.
PHP is gathering donations for its annual yard sale Aug. 3 to 4. Contact Walsh at 528-4169.
Contact Judy Salamacha at email@example.com or 801-1422.