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    Feeding the Hungry Ministry in Ocean Beach nears 11 years of serving meals; ‘Day After Christmas Meal’ set for Dec. 26
    by PAIGE FULFER
    Dec 18, 2017 | 263 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Sacred Heart Church of Ocean Beach volunteers at the dessert table. / Photo by Paige Fulfer
    Sacred Heart Church of Ocean Beach volunteers at the dessert table. / Photo by Paige Fulfer
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    Louise Mansfield at the gift table with the wrapped gifts her and volunteers homemade. / Photo by Paige Fulfer
    Louise Mansfield at the gift table with the wrapped gifts her and volunteers homemade. / Photo by Paige Fulfer
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    Sacred Heart Church of Ocean Beach celebrates the season of giving year-round. The Feeding the Hungry Ministry hosts dinners every other Tuesday throughout the year, and has been a staple to those in need throughout the OB community for the last 11 years. The program, led by OB native and former San Diego Police Department member Jack Hamlin, provides meals for seniors, low income, disabled, and homeless members of the community. The dinners are served by a volunteer staff, and guests can expect to be treated to a delicious, nutritious meal in the parish hall. Their next meal will be their “Day After Christmas Meal,” held on Dec. 26. Hamlin has been involved in the ministry since 2010, and even learned his cooking skills from Dan Coulon (owner of OB’s beloved Belgian Lion), before Coulon retired as head chef of Feeding the Hungry Ministry. “One of the things I enjoy most is watching the volunteers grow in the ministry,” says Hamlin. “Young folk who learn how to become more self reliant and learning how to reach out to those who are much different than them. And then, the more mature volunteers, stepping out of their comfort zone and learning how to love and engage in compassion, again.” Hamlin joyfully explains they experience many success stories from members of the community. “There are those who need our ministry as a stop gap until they can get back on their feet. I will see them at the store, dog park, or around the beach and they have told me how much they appreciated our help,” Hamlin said. “But there are other types of success. I cannot count the number of folk who are truly damaged emotionally who over time, open up to us. Going from ‘Don’t touch me,’ to initiating something as simple as a handshake or a hug is truly heartwarming.” The Feeding the Hungry Ministry goes above and beyond just feeding the community. When the hepatitis A outbreak occurred, not only did Sacred Heart immediately enhance their cleaning protocols to limit the chances of exposure to the virus, they partnered up with the County Health Department. The county came and provided more than 100 vaccinations to guests and volunteers and will return in February for a second round of vaccinations. Hamlin points out that while the program does face some backlash from the community, “Not a single property within two blocks of our ministry has suffered a loss of value in the 11 years we have been in service, contrary to what a handful of people who do not want the ministry to continue believe.” In March, the program will hit more than a whopping 40,000 meals served, and pantry service provided to 5,000. To Jack, the parish hall is more than just a hall. He says you hear the words “thank you” more in the hour and a half than you would in an entire year. “The ‘thank you’s’ come from the guests as well as the volunteers. I call the hall, the House of Thank Yous.” Day After Christmas Meal When: 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 26. Where: Sacred Heart Church of Ocean Beach, 4776 Saratoga Ave Info: If you would like to get involved as a volunteer, visit: sacredheartob.org.
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    Long-time Ocean Beach Mexican restaurant, Nati’s, sold
    Dec 14, 2017 | 31717 views | 19 19 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Founded in 1960, Nati’s Mexican Restaurant has been a staple in the Ocean Beach community serving Mexican food and creating what’s known as 'The Nati’s Family.'
    Founded in 1960, Nati’s Mexican Restaurant has been a staple in the Ocean Beach community serving Mexican food and creating what’s known as 'The Nati’s Family.'
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    Founded in 1960, Nati’s Mexican Restaurant has been a staple in the Ocean Beach community serving Mexican food and creating what’s known as “The Nati’s Family.” After 57 years of operation, friends and owners Dennis Kerr and Marilyn Thomas have decided to pass the torch and sell the restaurant to an un-named buyer. Kerr and Thomas own the corporation that operates Nati’s, a landmark at the corner of Bacon Street and Niagara Avenue in Ocean Beach. Kerr and Thomas began working at Nati’s as teenagers. Kerr, now 72, has spent 55 years affiliated with Nati’s either as an employee, manager or owner. Thomas, who manages the daily operation, has been with the business nearly as long. This week, they announced the sale of the corporation. “The restaurant business is best suited for young, innovative and energetic people. Unfortunately, Marilyn and I no longer fall into that category,” said Kerr. “A new owner will bring new ideas and energy to the business. “It is our understanding that the business will close for about a month for some much-needed renovation and updating. Thereafter, the refreshed Nati’s will re-open with the original staff and serve the consistent, Sinaloan-style Mexican food that has made it a local’s favorite for the past nearly 60 years,” Kerr said. “Marilyn and I are very proud of the staff that has made Nati’s the icon it has become. Our present employees are hardworking, loyal and dedicated to quality food and service,” said Kerr. “We believe that those who want to, will be able to continue with the business. We are particularly thankful for those we have worked with over the years, but who are no longer with us: founders Vern and Charlene Lontz; head chef Luis Bedoya and, of course, Luisa Allen. Luisa and Bedoya were with Vern Lontz when he opened Nati’s in 1960.” “It is the multiple generations of loyal customers that have made Nati’s what is quite possibly the longest continuous operating restaurant in Ocean Beach, and possibly San Diego,” Thomas said. “Each year our customers vote us best restaurant in OB and support us with their continued and loyal patronage. We are grateful for their patronage and loyalty. Nati’s customers are the best!” The purchase of Nati’s Inc., includes the business known as Nati’s Mexican Food and the real estate, according to the brokerage firm The Franco Realty Group, headed by Tony Franco. Franco confirmed the new owner’s plan to temporarily close Nati’s to complete some remodeling and immediately re-open as the same Nati’s Mexican Food. The Franco Realty Group – with Tony Franco, and including Cody Wippel, Joe Medina and Joseph Rote – represented the buyer and seller. Nati’s has always supported the community with donations and contributions. The restaurant has been recognized as the longest, continuous supporter of teams of the Point Loma Little League. “This truly has been a once in a lifetime opportunity and an honor to represent such awesome people. The personalities involved in this transaction were by far the most easy going, which is suiting for doing this type of OB deal,” said Franco.   Nati’s has always supported the community with donations and contributions. The restaurant has been recognized as the longest, continuous supporter of teams of the Point Loma Little League.
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    AmyY14
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    December 16, 2017
    I've been going here since the high school and have lived here since 01 for college. My mom adores Natis as does my husband. It truly is as close to my grandma's Mexican food as I can get in a restaurant. I grade a Mexican Food restaurant on t heir Spanish rice, and Natis has the best. My grandma cooked New Mexico style, with all the dry ingredients and ground beef tacos which is so rare to find in SD. I really, really hope they keep the same food and staff... owners may get tired and move on, but if there's one thing I learned, you don't muck with the flavor.
    Dan Pequeno
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    December 16, 2017
    I have been going here since the early 60s, and still go here to Nati's every so often for lunch. I come to Nati's because of the Positive atmosphere and staff. Having a nice parking lot in the back is a big plus for me! Lots of nice Positive memories of Nati's, OB, The OB Pier, etc etc. I have already made plans with one of my old friends to come back there again on Monday for lunch. Very glad that this Restaurant will stay put with the same staff etc.
    David Fisher
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    December 16, 2017
    My parents discovered Nati's while I was stationed in Japan in the Air Force. Upon returning home in 1962 they brought me over here for some good Mexican food and I've been enjoying their food ever since. We had originally lived up on Osprey St. upon moving here in 1944 so coming over to O.B. for good food wasn't going to far afield for us. Mom and dad continued to come here thru the years and I continue the tradition to this day.
    Mary Winklea
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    December 15, 2017
    When Natis first opened I was in elementary school and lunch on Sundays after church was an extra special treat. It was one of my Dad's favorite restaurants.After he retired he looked forward to lunch and a Dos Equis at Natis. This Saturday the family will be gathering at Natis to raise a Dos Equis toast in honor of what would have been our Dad's 100th birthday. Thank you Natis for so many wonderful memories.
    Julie Speidel
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    December 15, 2017
    Just as long as they rehang the picture of Sean Cassidy :) Thanks for all the years of great food and wonderful service
    Eric Awes
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    December 15, 2017
    We use to go there before it was called Nati's...the name was "Consuelo's" and changed to Nati's. I also remember when there was a driveway between the restaurant and office's (remember??). It was so much fun to take my three boys to Nati's when on summer vacation from Seattle in the 1990's. Now all three return each time they come to San Diego..so continues the generations enjoying Nati's.
    Torb
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    December 15, 2017
    Consuelo's was on Sunset Cliffs Blvd
    Scott Hopkins
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    December 16, 2017
    Eric Awes is correct. Before its name was changed to Nati's, the restaurant occupying the corner of Bacon and Niagara Streets was Consuelo's. There is an interesting story about how the name change took place, a story too long for this space.
    Barbara Smith
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    15 Hours Ago
    Hello,

    Nati's was never Consuelo's. They were 2 great Mexican restaurants that operated concurrently. We chose them based on their gratis Quesadilla's. Consuelo's on a flat tin platter, Nati's on a smaller wooden platform.

    Consuelo's was located where Kaiserhof is now.

    Important piece of OB history not to be confused.

    Barbara
    Scott Hopkins
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    December 15, 2017
    I was a fifth-grader at Silver Gate School when Nati's opened and our family went to Nati's in its first days. In the early 1960's four families in our neighborhood on Wildwood Road would pile into station wagons on Friday nights and head for Nati's. I believe one outstanding characteristic of Nati's, besides the food, is the friendliness and longevity of its wait staff. Also, Marilyn has a knack for hiring great high schoolers as hosts and hostesses. I can't imagine how many area youth had their first job there. Let's hope the new owners understand what a unique and special place they have purchased and continue with the menu and pride of preparation we've come to love...including the best chile relleno I've found anywhere, including Mexico.
    Pam Mehner Hiller
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    December 15, 2017
    Small world. I was a block away on Santa Cruz, but only in kindergarten!

    George Stock
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    December 15, 2017
    Nati's was the go-to spot in OB when I was in high school. Best wishes to Dennis, who I remember well, and Marilyn.
    Pam (Mehner) Hiller
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    December 15, 2017
    And THANK YOU Marilyn and Dennis for your years of service to the community, continuing the business that the Lontz/s started so many years ago. And THANK YOU for choosing new owners who want to continue running Nati's as the treasured family restaurant that it has always been!

    Pam (Mehner) Hiller
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    December 15, 2017
    I grew up in Ocean Beach going to Nati's in the early 60's and continue to enjoy Nati's hospitality to this very day. My parents and brothers, all of whom are gone now, were also known and loyal customers who knew Luisa. Now my husband and I hold the family torch for Nati's and wish the new owners the best of luck and welcome them to the long-standing Nati's community of Ocean Beach! SOOO relieved to hear that the new owners plan to continue the business and to keep the wonderful current staff, Lucilena, Francisco, et al, and that Nati's will reopen and be better than ever! See you soon!
    Joanruth Kingsbury
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    December 15, 2017
    We were there the day Nati's opened and, even though I have long moved away, we always go to OB to eat lunch at Nati's each visit. When my widowed grandfather would come visit in the early 60's, he wanted to eat there, though I suspect that Luisa was the primary draw! Hope the crispy quesadillas stay the same!
    Seawave121@aol.com
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    December 15, 2017
    First Thank You Owners for all your years of service
    Nancy Witt
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    December 15, 2017
    I came to Ocean Beach in '71 from South Bend, IN, and was told by a friend in So.Bend, that we should go to Nati's, and sure enough we did. It's become a local Mexican eating place for a long time.

    Stephen Maugeri
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    December 14, 2017
    Thanks for the many years of service you provided to all of us!

    My family as well as my wife's family (Demangos family / owners of Pats liquor in OB) Enjoyed your hospitality for over 40 years!

    I'd like to wish the new owners much success in the new beginning of Natis!
    missewon
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    December 14, 2017
    *cries uncontrollably*
    Mission Bay Park Committee votes to keep golf course, add wetlands to De Anza Cove plan
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Dec 14, 2017 | 17089 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Mission Bay Park Committee voted Dec. 6 for a preferred alternative for the De Anza Revitalization Plan that pleased recreationalists but few others, especially not environmentalists who decried the decision as “token.” Overriding objections from environmentalists to delay rather than rush its choice, the park committee voted 5-3 in favor of “alternative 2,” which will now be forwarded for city environmental review.  “Unfortunately, the two concepts presented by the city were driven by misguided priorities that ultimately fail to reach the goals of the Mission Bay Park Master Plan,” said Rebecca Schwartz Lesberg of nonprofit San Diego Audubon. “It’s disappointing to watch the city push concepts that are not resilient to sea level rise, ignoring the inevitable. These concepts place the burden of responding to climate change on future generations, and miss the opportunity to prepare our region for shrinking coastlines.” To adequately protect wetlands in Mission Bay, Schwartz Lesberg said, the city would need to dedicate at least 200 acres — less than 5 percent of Mission Bay — to habitat. The preferred plan currently only has around 30 to 40 acres set aside for wetlands, increasing the less than 2 percent of wetlands in the bay to less than 3 percent.  The city’s Mission Bay Park Master Plan requires wetlands restoration and improvements aimed at protecting those marsh areas, Schwartz Lesberg noted. She said the alternative selected “Does very little to correct the bay-wide imbalance that has for decades favored commerce and recreation at the expense of the environment.” A regional park, Mission Bay has a city-owned, 18-hole golf course as well as ball fields and tennis and volleyball courts. It includes dog-friendly, off-leash Fiesta Island. The park is home to a myriad of aquatic interests — boating, swimming, kayaking, etc. There is also lodging at Campland on the Bay, which provides RV and tent camping. Recreationalists were generally pleased by the committee’s selection of alternative 2, which spares the 50-plus year-old Mission Bay Golf Course. Some wanted the golf course downsized or eliminated altogether, arguing it took up too much park space and that it has been operating at a deficit for years. The preferred plan, alternative 2, allows for 38 acres of wetland. A total of 40 acres are also set aside for “guest housing.” The plan also considers creation of ball fields and a restaurant, while providing beach access for water sports that don’t rely on combustible engines. The fate of Campland on the Bay, whose supporters testified at the Dec. 6 park committee meeting that their families have enjoyed the camp for as many as three generations, remains uncertain. Approximately 80 percent of Campland’s visitors are San Diegans. Campland presently pays about $3 million in transit occupancy taxes and rent. Jacob Gelfand, vice president of operations at Campland on the Bay, said it would be a mistake to ignore the importance of lodging in planning for De Anza Cove. “Campland has been a beloved local asset, coming up on 50 years,” Gelfand said. “Any plan the city puts forward should reflect the community’s need for continuing waterfront camping access.” Said Gelfand: “There’s been a lot written in the media about perceived conflict between camping and other potential uses. For the last 50 years, Campland has been a dedicated environmental steward and neighbor to the Kendall-Frost Marsh. A lot of our campsites overlook the wetlands marsh, and there really is a symbiotic relationship between the marsh and the camp, with a lot of our tenants requesting sites with views of the marsh so they can reconnect with the natural environment.” ReWild Mission Bay is a project of San Diego Audubon to enhance and restore up to 170 acres of wetlands in the northeast corner of Mission Bay. Wetlands including marshes, mud flats and riverbanks, which are instrumental in attracting wildlife, fostering a diverse ecosystem, improving water quality and protecting communities from flooding by providing a cushion during high tides.  Today, only about 1 percent of the historic 4,500 acres of Mission Bay wetlands remain, which leads environmentalists to conclude that ReWild Mission Bay is a critical and time-sensitive project for the area. “Both of the De Anza Revitalization plans reconnect Kendall-Frost Marsh with Rose Creek, which will help the remaining 40 acres of wetlands survive,” said Schwartz Lesberg previously. “What is missing from both alternatives is the long-term view to ensure wetlands can continue to create cleaner water, buffer communities from sea-level rise, provide habitat for wildlife, and get people out in nature. If they (wetlands) disappear — so do those services.”
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    Home for the holidays – Dewey Elementary students reunite with their mom
    by THOMAS MELVILLE
    Dec 11, 2017 | 10048 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Yeoman-2nd Class Melissa Hall gets a good look at her daughter Jordan Hall, a third-grader at Dewey Elementary in Point Loma. Hall surprised her daughters, who she had not seen in six months, on Monday, Dec. 11. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Yeoman-2nd Class Melissa Hall gets a good look at her daughter Jordan Hall, a third-grader at Dewey Elementary in Point Loma. Hall surprised her daughters, who she had not seen in six months, on Monday, Dec. 11. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Yeoman-2nd Class Melissa Hall gets a a hug from her daughter Taylor Hall, a kindergartner at Dewey Elementary in Point Loma. Hall surprised her daughters, who she had not seen in six months, on Monday, Dec. 11. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Yeoman-2nd Class Melissa Hall gets a a hug from her daughter Taylor Hall, a kindergartner at Dewey Elementary in Point Loma. Hall surprised her daughters, who she had not seen in six months, on Monday, Dec. 11. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Yeoman-2nd Class Melissa Hall hugs her daughters Taylor and Jordan Hall, students at Dewey Elementary in Point Loma. Hall surprised her daughters, who she had not seen in six months, on Monday, Dec. 11. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Yeoman-2nd Class Melissa Hall hugs her daughters Taylor and Jordan Hall, students at Dewey Elementary in Point Loma. Hall surprised her daughters, who she had not seen in six months, on Monday, Dec. 11. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    In an effort to thank those who serve the country year round, the San Diego Unified School District launched the inaugural “Military Holiday Card Drive” this week and held a holiday homecoming for two students at Dewey Elementary, who were surprised by their mom returning from a Navy deployment. The school also held the San Diego Unified True Blue Buddies “Military Student Bike Giveaway” where Santa flew in on a helicopter and then rolled out new bicycles for students. But prior to St. Nick’s arrival, third-grader Jordan Hall and kindergartner Taylor Hall received their Christmas presents early, as their mom, Melissa Hall, walked out of a classroom and into the courtyard where the students were gathered for the bike giveaway. Deployed on the U.S.S Pinckney since June, and not expected back until after the holidays, Yeoman-2nd Class Hall stepped into the sunlight and then sunk to her knees to envelope her daughters in hugs, kisses and joy. “It was a rush of emotions,” Hall said. “I haven’t seen them in six months. I don’t always get to connect with them while deployed.” Hall, who found out about the plan in August, worried she would ruin the surprise. “But everything went great. It’s so exciting to be home for the holidays. I guess we’re going to go decorate the house for Christmas,” said Hall, who lives at Naval Base Point Loma. Throughout the year, San Diego Unified assures military families that their children will receive an education by providing them with a variety of resources and services catered to their unique needs. Almost every school within the district services a child whose parent or guardian is serving or has served in the armed forces. The district offers military families services that help match them with similar educational programs they were enrolled in previously, as well as introductions to local military liaisons that can help with any issues or resources they may need. All district schools have military-friendly environments with programs, teachers and counselors trained to aid in the transition and adaptation of their incoming and outgoing military families. San Diego Unified services the largest number of military-connected students in the state of California. Overall, San Diego Unified serves more than 13,000 military-connected children and six military bases within district boundaries. To participate in the Military Holiday Card Drive, drop off signed holiday cards at San Diego Unified’s Central office (main lobby) at 4100 Normal St. from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Friday, Dec. 15 (before noon). As a thank you, those who donate a holiday card on Wednesday, Dec. 13 will receive a free ticket to the San Diego symphony’s holiday concert “Noel, Noel” on Dec. 22, at 8 p.m. at Copley Symphony Hall (while supplies last).
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    Hot Cocoa for a Cure to benefit boating accident victim
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Dec 09, 2017 | 6235 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The Ybarra family's charity fundraiser started out small with their two daughters setting up a card table in front of their house.
    The Ybarra family's charity fundraiser started out small with their two daughters setting up a card table in front of their house.
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    A boating-accident victim will be the recipient this year of a yuletide hot cocoa charity fundraiser begun nearly 20 years ago by a Point Loma family benefiting needy neighbors. The 18th annual charity fundraiser Hot Cocoa for a Cure will take place 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16 at the Freitas residence, 3616 Garrison St. More than 1,000 cups of hot chocolates and scrumptious baked goodies will be sold and dispensed. “This year’s event is to help Ron Schoors, who lost his arm in a boating accident this summer, and is now in need of a prosthesis,” said Kyle Ybarra who, along with wife Carrie, are continuing their family's annual giving tradition begun by their now-grown daughter almost 20 years ago. After several surgeries, Schoors continues to recover from his boating accident. He was out in San Diego Bay when a wave rocked his boat and knocked him into the water. The empty boat started to spin out of control and ran him over while he was underwater. The boat's propeller caught his arm, leaving it seriously injured. He also broke his leg. The Coast Guard rescued Schoors out of the water. They got the boat under control after Schoors' friend hit it with his own boat to stop its momentum. The Schoors' family has set up a Go Fund Me page to help defray Ron's medical expenses. Past hot chocolate fundraiser recipients have included a victim of domestic violence, a child with brain cancer, a boy who was shot and survived, a juvenile diabetes sufferer and many others in need. Kyle Ybarra noted Schoors is unquestionably deserving of being this year's fundraiser recipient. “His leg was severely broken in multiple places, and his right arm was so damaged, he ended up losing it,” Ybarra said, noting it's hoped proceeds from the annual charitable fundraiser “will be enough to get him his prosthetic arm.” Of the origin of the hot cocoa fundraiser, Kyle Ybarra, said: “When my daughter, now 24, was 6 years old, she and her three best friends set up a small little hot chocolate stand to benefit a young girl in Tijuana they knew who was going to have surgery. They raised about $80 and took that money and bought the girl a Barbie doll and took it to her hospital room. It's (fundraiser's) grown larger and larger ever since.” Carrie Ybarra said her family's charity fundraiser started out small with her two daughters setting up a card table in front of their house, adding, “Now it's turned into a community event where people not only donate, but help run it. It’s amazing.” Carrie Ybarra noted there will be something else special, too, about this year's chocolate fundraiser.  “This year, the San Diego Padres have generously offered to help support this cause,” she said. Kyle Ybarra added there have now been 18 different fundraiser recipients over the years, as an institution, Rady Children's Hospital, was a recipient one year. He added some recipients have benefitted more than once. The public is encouraged to come out for hot cocoa, delicious treats, music and an appearance by Santa, as well as the San Diego Padres Pad Squad and Friar. To donate directly to Ron, a fundraiser page was set up for him: http://bit.ly/2A3Inu4. Hot Cocoa for a Cure Where: 3616 Garrison St. When: 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16. Donate: To donate directly to Ron Schoors, visit http://bit.ly/2A3Inu4.
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