In October, PB Community Collaborators – a loose-knit group of civic organizations representing local schools, the library, Discover PB, and the town council – met via Zoom to discuss current events in the midst of COVID.
Mary Lou Benzel, president of PB Woman’s Club, talked about the club’s ongoing charity work while dispelling rumors that their clubhouse was being turned into a homeless shelter.
“We’ve been working with our favorite charity, Stand Up For Kids, that supports homeless teens,” Benzel said. “We’ve been supporting them for close to 13 years to give them things like food and clothing and baskets of goodies at holiday time.”
Regarding homeless services, Benzel said, “Quite a stir was created on Next Door when we brought in a (temporary) trailer to allow the unhoused to take showers, and it was immediately assumed that we were turning the PB Woman’s Club into a homeless shelter, which we are not.”
Added Benzel: “The PB Woman’s Club has also become too expensive for us to maintain, so we put it up for sale thinking that was the best thing we could do to still serve the community. We don’t need a physical place to do it. We’ll still be around, probably bigger and better than ever, without the burden of a 100-plus-year-old house to maintain.”
Ron Walker of Pacific Beach Town Council noted that the council was not been able to do Concerts on the Green and graffiti cleanup this year due to COVID.
“That has really been unfortunate, but we’ve been doing some other community improvement projects like power washing sidewalks on Garnet, and weed abatement on Mission Bay Drive and Soledad Mountain Road,” Walker said. “We’ve also been advocating for park curfew hours, and pressuring the City on (creating) a sidewalk vending ordinance. We’ve also collaborated with the PB Planning Group and Discover PB on starting a Garnet block captain program.”
Christine Wainwright of PB Library gave an update on the status quo of libraries citywide.
“We’ve expanded service at all 36 branches to Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 2 to 5:30 p.m. with an hour off for lunch from 1 to 2 p.m.,” Wainwright said. “Our book drops are all now open 24 hours.”
The librarian added that the PB Taylor Branch is not yet open for limited indoor patron usage, pointing out that La Jolla and Point Loma branches are, though with notable changes.
“You’re not allowed to handle books on shelves,” Wainwright said. “Staff goes in and pulls books for patrons now like our contactless pick-up service.”
Wainwright added mail ballot drop-off service staffed by County Registrar staffers is being conducted now throughout the Nov. 3 election at all 36 City library locations from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. “Mail ballots will be driven over to the Registrar, you don’t need to worry about them getting lost,” she said.
Sara Berns, executive director of Discover PB, said the business improvement district has had to reformat its fall Beachfest, turning it into a Best of the Beach Fish Taco Contest with tickets on sale now at pacificbeach.org.
“You can visit six participating restaurants over the next six weeks and submit your (best of) vote online,” Berns said. “Also at our farmers market on Tuesdays, we’ll have arts and crafts vendors usually at Beachfest featured every week during the month of October. We’ll also be doing the same thing with local PB merchants and vendors in November, encouraging people to shop small and local before the holidays.”
Speaking for Friends of Pacific Beach Secondary Schools, Love Zubiller said: “Our hands are tied with fundraising as well because our kids aren’t back on campus yet. But a Mission Bay High School student has designed a PB T-shirt and 20% of sales are going to FOPBSS,” she said. “MBHS also is selling masks that are black with a little pirate on them. And if you know students who need breakfast and lunch, they’re being offered at MBHS.”
WANT TO COLLABORATE?
PB Community Collaborators meets the second Friday of the month from 8 to 9 a.m. currently via Zoom. Those interested in attending or participating should email [email protected]