The luck of Los Osos: Good times, and a good cause

Just a wee bit of cash will buy you supper and a song at the second annual Scottish Irish Night on Thursday at the South Bay Community Center in Los Osos.

Scottish meat pies with Irish mashed potatoes and peas, salad and dessert are only $8. After supper, the Gillie Wheesels (www.central coastceltic.com) will croon Irish and Scottish ditties and ballads while Duncan McQueen, donned in his finest kilt, might be persuaded to play his musical saw. But the best Irish luck is every penny for these pleasures benefits People Helping People of Los Osos.

People Helping People began in 1972 when Los Osos, Baywood Park and Cuesta-by-the-Sea seniors created the nonprofit to help seniors who have special needs. A senior center was envisioned when they sold their lot on Fourth Street for $38,000 and continued fundraising. Then the leaders realized the entire community had special needs, so People Helping People donated the seed money of $58,000 to construct the South Bay Community Center.

Today, Jim Quesenberry, first vice president and coordinator of the food distribution program, reports that People Helping People sees an average of 50 to 70 people daily at the community center, and volunteers have stepped forward to help with food distribution.

“Our relationship with the Baywood farmers market renewed, so we have fresh produce,” Quesenberry said. “The Food Bank and USDA provide the staples and proteins. We have a good time and, thanks to board Secretary Lynn Wise, doughnuts and coffee are available.”        

Beverly Ford volunteers in the office and says they could use more help weekday mornings. She helps provide medical, housing and tax referral information. People Helping People also loans out medical equipment for a nominal deposit.

Newly elected board President Richard Margetson says the pending remodel at the community center will offer more efficiency in operations. It will cost about $56,000 to expand behind the stage, most of which has already been donated by area businesses and tradesmen, he said.

“The community center started as a grassroots endeavor, and it continues to gather support,” Margetson said. “After all, it belongs to the community.”

Margetson succeeds Jerri Walsh as president of the board. He said Walsh will hold the title of past president, while Linda Owens is second vice president and Carol Cribbs is treasurer.

“Throughout my life I’ve volunteered for homeless issues,” Margetson said. “I’m not sure how People Helping People captured my interest, but I’ve been involved 10 years.”

Scottish Irish Night tickets are limited to about 120 and must be picked up in advance at the People Helping People office in the Los Osos Community Center, 2180 Palisades Ave., from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, call 528-2626.