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Eight groups seek funding from grants program

SOLANA BEACH — Despite receiving a surprisingly low number of applications for the annual Community Grant Program, City Council members still have the difficult task of deciding which groups will get funding. 

Only $15,000 is available for eight organizations that are seeking a combined $32,990 for their programs, most of which serve the Eden Gardens community.

All but two have sought and received funding in the past and all but one attended the Nov. 28 meeting to explain how the money would be used.

The Community Resource Center, a recipient the last four years, is seeking $5,000 to buy food for its 30th annual Holiday Baskets Program, which begins Dec. 14 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Executive Director Laurin Pause said CRC expects to serve 1,700 families this year, up from 470 when the program began.

“This is no small feat,” she said, especially because the organization hasn’t received any money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency this year for the 350 families that are given food weekly.

“So we are now entering Holiday Baskets with zero food,” she said.

The center expects to spend $130,000 on the program, with about half of that going to buy food. Pause said last year approximately 320 recipients were from Solana Beach and she anticipates that number will increase to 360 this year.

Kids Korps USA, which was granted funds four of the last five years, is asking for $5,000 to offset expenses such as staff, supplies and transportation for its eighth annual summer camp at La Colonia Park.

The weeklong program serves about 40 youngsters from diverse, low-income families, teaching them how they can help others and build a more sustainable future, according to Veronica Baker, Kids Korps associate director.

In past years participants have visited senior citizens and picked vegetables for local Head Start preschools and low-income families.

The focus in 2013 will be entirely on the environment, addressing issues such as water preservation, natural resource conservation and protection, habitat preservation and restoration and waste reduction and recycling, Baker said.

Participants will learn about these issues and complete a hands-on project to benefit a Kids Korps partner such as the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy and Surfrider Foundation.

North Coast Repertory Theatre is seeking $5,000 for a youth production about the Holocaust — either “The Diary of Anne Frank” or “Kindertransport” — that will help pay for production costs such as a director, costumes and set design and construction.

The grant would also help fund a proposed interactive art exhibit. Discounted tickets and need-based scholarships would be available to school groups, said Kathryn Byrd, development associate with the theater school.

NCRT has received funding from the grant program four times. Last year it also received money for an anti-bullying show from the Public Arts Advisory Commission reserve fund.

The St. James and St. Leo Medical and Dental Program, an all-volunteer organization that provides services to the working poor with no insurance, is seeking $5,000 to start five diabetes patients on an insulin regimen.

Last year, the first time the group applied for the program, council granted the organization $2,000 to help pay for blood tests.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of San Dieguito, a three-time program recipient, is asking for $3,500 for its children’s and community organic garden at the La Colonia Park branch.

With most of the materials donated, work on the project has already started. “The community has embraced it so fully,” Katie Pelisek said.

About 115 youngsters and their families will be served by the garden. The club plans to incorporate cooking and nutritious eating with the garden project, Pelisek said.

La Colonia de Eden Gardens, a first-time recipient last year, is seeking $3,250 to help fund its summer leadership camp. About 30 teenagers, mostly from Eden Gardens, would spend a week at Whispering Winds in the Cuyamaca Mountains.

Participants will develop leadership skills to help the community, learn about career opportunities and enjoy hikes and swimming.

The Earl Warren Middle School Parent-Teacher-Student Association, a first-time applicant, is asking for $2,240 to buy two generators that would be used to power lights for added security at various locations on the campus.

Brad Auerbach said the parking lot on the corner of Lomas Santa Fe Drive and Stevens Avenue is unpaved and unlit, presenting safety concerns during nighttime events such as school dances, library activities and orientation.

He said the generators could also power lights on the athletic field, allowing sports to continue after dark. Councilman Tom Campbell said that could create an issue with surrounding residents.

Auerbach said the district has generators but they are difficult to reserve. He said he asked the district for funding help but hasn’t received a response.

Also seeking funding for the first time is the Center for Academic and Social Advancement. The organization is asking for $4,000 for its twice-weekly La Clase Magica afterschool program at La Colonia Park that serves youngsters from preschool through grade six.

A representative from the organization did not make a presentation at the Nov. 28 meeting.

Council will announce the grant recipients at the Dec. 12 meeting. Coast Waste Management and EDCO Waste and Recycling Services, the city’s two waste haulers, and the city each contribute $5,000 to the program that started in 2004.