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Los Osos Cares continues to aid its Estero Bay community amid COVID-19 challenges

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When Linda Quesenberry looks back on the last nearly nine months, the biggest takeaway for her is that when people are in need, the community really is there for one another.

Quesenberry is the vice chair and executive director for Los Osos Cares, a nonprofit that supports Estero Bay, which includes Los Osos, Morro Bay, and Cayucos.

CARING FOR OTHERS Linda Quesenberry, her team, and their collaborative partners have remained available for the Los Osos, Morro Bay, and Cayucos community, serving more than 500 people this year. - IMAGE COURTESY OF LOS OSOS CARES
  • Image Courtesy Of Los Osos Cares
  • CARING FOR OTHERS Linda Quesenberry, her team, and their collaborative partners have remained available for the Los Osos, Morro Bay, and Cayucos community, serving more than 500 people this year.

This year the nonprofit has served more than 500 people with its programs. She said the organization has many individuals who are regularly in touch with Los Osos Cares for assistance or information, but the public health crisis has affected individuals of all ages with new and differing needs.

"There were a lot of people that were affected by COVID-19 whether it was by losing their job, they've gotten sick themselves, or are caring for a sick individual. There were just a lot of different reasons," Quesenberry said.

In order to provide information to those who are homebound or unable to leave their home due to their risk of being exposed to the virus, the nonprofit launched its program Estero Bay R U OK. The senior phone helpline was launched and is operated by three team members with a separate phone line for each Estero Bay community.

Quesenberry said the program was a way to establish a direct line of information, referral services, connection to resources, and emergency funding with an individual who is knowledgeable about the area and its current resources.

In a continued effort to provide seniors with aid during this time, the organization hosted its first drive-through Senior Health Fair in October: 55 attendees had access to 26 informational agencies and bags of produce donated by the SLO Food Bank.

The nonprofit's resource center is made possible by collaborations with local service providers, agencies, and other organizations. At the center, clients can still meet with a Prado Outreach Worker, and small socially distanced meetings are held every Thursday with the Transitions Mental Health Association's (TMHA) Family Advocate team.

Quesenberry said the Los Osos Cares Community Dinners program continues to provide meals to 75 to 100 people each week from 5 to 6 p.m. at the South Bay Community Center. Instead of enjoying the meal in the company of others as before, participants receive their meals to-go.

The organization is slated to provide free Thanksgiving takeout dinners on Thursday, Nov. 26, from 5 to 6 p.m., which will be hosted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Turkey vouchers were donated by Golden State Water of Los Osos. The organization is looking for volunteers to cook and carve one or more turkeys as well as donations that include stuffing, cranberry sauce, roasted potatoes, or roasted vegetables.

With a core group of volunteers and board of directors, Quesenberry said the nonprofit has been able to continue its partnerships and provide the community with assistance during this unique and challenging year.

Looking ahead, Quesenberry said she worries about individuals who weren't able to afford their rent during this time and could possibly face being displaced from their homes. She and her team, however, are ready to tackle the issues with their collaborative partners just as they have with COVID-19. To get in contact with Los Osos Cares call (805) 592-2701 or email wecareinlososos@gmail.com.

Fast facts

Delta Liquid Energy is holding its annual holiday donation drive through Dec. 14. The family-owned and operated propane service located in Paso Robles will also be contributing donations to local organizations based on their needs. Delta encourages those who are interested to donate new, unwrapped toys for all ages, nonperishable food items, and monetary donations. Last year the company pledged $5,000 company-wide, and this year Delta is committed to donating $7,500 to purchase toys, gifts cards, and nonperishables to give back to local organizations. For more information on donation locations or the donation drive, call (805) 239-0616.

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of San Luis Obispo County welcomes four new members to its board of directors, additional members, and a new board president, Gilbert Stork—former Cuesta College president. The board is growing from 12 to 14 directors with this year's election, a size that could help CASA meet its goal of providing a volunteer to every child in the county under the court system's care. COVID-19 has impacted the number of volunteers and donors able to support CASA so the board will assist in increasing community support. For more information about volunteering or donating contact, staff@slocasa.org or call (805) 541-6542. Δ

Staff Writer Karen Garcia wrote this week's Strokes and Plugs. Send tidbits to kgarcia@newtimesslo.com.

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