ALF heroes for January | Around About North County

It’s exciting to have all of this rain — what a cleansing way to start 2019! The trees are getting rid of all their fall foliage and the hills are turning green again. However, it won’t be long before our weed-eater will need to be oiled and ready to go!
I received my annual newsletter from Atascadero Loaves and Fishes Board President Tim Eckles and the statistics for this nonprofit, all-volunteer organization are impressive.
The statistics from the Pantry for January through November 2018 report that 302,300 pounds of groceries were given out to 14,500 people, not including emergency vouchers.
The ALF Pantry facility has seen many improvements including new flooring, fresh paint, bathroom upgrades, and new stainless steel shelving and work tables. Those improvements, along with determined Pantry Management earned the Pantry a rating of 100 percent from the SLO County Health Department along with a Certificate of Excellence. The rating could not have happened without hours of volunteer work from individuals and groups like the Atascadero Kiwanis Club weekend work crew.
The Pantry is on a course for over 400,000 pounds of grocery distribution for 2019. The work is done by community volunteers. The Pantry morning crews stock the shelves and the afternoon “baggers” distribute to the clients five days a week. The Pantry Management assures that the menu retains the same quantity and quality each day. In 2018 the Alf Pantry expenditures increased by $1,500 each month to make up for the shortfall from the SLO Food Bank.
In 2019 ALF anticipates a 6 percent increase in overall expenses. The organization hopes that the combination of private donors and grant funding will help meet the anticipated increase in the cost of food and additional expenditures. They will also be seeking other funding sources.
Early this month the ALF Board and key volunteer staff will participate in a strategic planning process facilitated by Spokes, an organization that provides board/officer training, strategic planning and grant support for nonprofits.
I am making ALF members my “Community Heroes” for January 2019! Thank you for all you do to help make our community a better place to live and work.
For more information or to make a donation, visit the ALF website at
Last week, I mentioned the fourth annual Tamale Festival on Saturday, Jan. 19, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., here in Atascadero. The Sunken Gardens will be buzzing with vendors offering that popular food.
The “Tamale Eating Contest” is a favorite and this year Que Pasa Mexican Grill is the official sponsor of the contest and Kennedy Club Fitness will be providing gift certificates to the gym for the winners. Anyone interested in participating will need to go to the Information Booth to register to be in the contest.
Registrations for the contest will take place at the Information Booth from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. The contest will take place at 2:45 p.m. in front of the historic City Hall. Space is limited, so be sure to register early. First place winners will receive a trophy along with the gift certificate from Kennedy Club Fitness.
Entertainment at the festival will feature the Mariachi Mexicanisimo band, the famous Dancing Horses, soloist Manuel Enrique, the popular Folklorico Dancers, as well as music from the Dork Band (new this year), Ricky Montijo (also new this year), and the Los Gatos Locos band. Medina Light Show and Designs will be the emcee of the day.
I’m looking forward to the Atascadero Chamber’s Annual Dinner tomorrow night at the Pavilion on the Lake, where we will celebrate the Chamber Award Winners for 2018 and will be introduced to the 2019 Board of Directors.
My good friend and fellow Atascadero Quotarian, Jeannie Malik, has been named Citizen of the Year — a very well-deserved award for her! Other recognition will be given to Glenn’s Repair and Rental/Business of the Year; Farron Elizabeth/Entrepreneur of the Year; Mike and Charlotte Byrne/Community Service; Gary Borjan/Ambassador of the Year; and Ray Johnson/Lifetime Member.
Congratulations to all of the outstanding Atascadero Chamber Award winners for 2018. I can’t wait to congratulate them in person.
Tickets for the popular Atascadero Friends of the Library’s Dancing With Our Stars event will go on sale Monday, Jan. 14, and often sell out the first day. To purchase tickets go to
Be sure to mark Feb. 9, at 6:30 p.m. on your calendar for the Murder Mystery Play and five-course dinner served by Chef Antonio Varia at the Community Church of Atascadero Hall. Tickets are $100 per person and are available at the Hope Chest Emporium, 5899 El Camino Real, Atascadero or at For more information, call 805-466-1961.
The event will benefit the rehabilitation of the historic Printery Building.
Enjoy the weekend and the rain!


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