On Tuesday night I visited the Bayside Community Center .

It’s where members of the surrounding community of Linda Vista have been getting together for occasional film screenings, each time selecting one that highlights the experience of one of Linda Vista’s largest immigrant communities. Local residents and families — Hmong, Vietnamese, Mexican — have been packing the community room to learn about their neighbors through film.

On Tuesday they watched a documentary about the binational experience of Mixtec migrants, who are an indigenous community of Mexicans from the southern state of Oaxaca. Amid the bustle of toddlers running wild between folding chairs and their mothers chasing after them — pleading for sanity in at least four languages — I ran into Jorge Riquleme, the center’s director.

You may remember that a couple of weeks ago I wrote about a lunch program for seniors that Bayside has been running for more than 20 years. Its immediate future was uncertain after the provider that contracted with the county to run the program told Bayside it would be ending the service at the end of April.

On Tuesday, Riquleme told me the article had stirred a lot of response.

In the two weeks after it ran, he said, Bayside received calls offering donations for the program as well as offers to write letters to the county pleading that the program not be interrupted.

And, earlier on Tuesday, he’d received a visit from a county representative, who came with news.

It was a little hard to take in all the details of what he was telling me because of the gleeful commotion of children (and their less gleeful mothers) around us. Plus, the movie was about to start. But the news sounded good. Riquelme sent me this e-mail this morning:

Dear Adrian,

I have some very good news about our congregate meals program.

Mr. Will Quintong, Assistant Deputy Director, Aging & Independence Services (AIS), County of San Diego, visited Bayside on February 23 at lunch time and informed the seniors that the congregate lunch service would not be interrupted. He said that the lunches would be provided by LiveWell San Diego until June 30, 2010. After that date, AIS will contract with some other agency to provide the meals.

As you can imagine, the seniors were thrilled with the news! Soon after that announcement … I met with Mr. Quintong. He presented us the opportunity of running our own independent congregate lunch program! If we are interested he will invite us to participate in a request for proposals to operate our own nutrition program for congregate lunch services at Bayside. If we decide to apply, we can start the service on July 1st, 2010.


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