The Ocean Beach Woman’s Club is celebrating its 89th birthday this year. But it's uncertain whether or not the club will be around next year.
2160 Bacon Street, San Diego
The organization began serving the community in 1924, helping to get streets paved, sewers and streetlights installed, year-round lifeguards, obtaining O.B.'s library, and, most recently, getting our skate park installed. But the club has run into a common problem these days: lack of participation.
While the clubhouse and land located at 2160 Bacon Street is paid for, taxes, insurance, and utilities eat up about $800 a month. And now, they are in dire need of a new roof, which could cost upward of $5000.
The club makes most of its money by renting out the facility to church groups, for yoga classes, birthday parties, and other such gatherings. But many community groups pay little or are not charged at all.
As a new way to raise money, the club has opened a community garden that surrounds the building. Individual plots are $50 a year, and a communal plot is $35 for the year.
I met with club president Donna Bergerson and vice president Mel Roark at a potluck this past week to raise awareness and garner new members. Donna believes membership is down because modern women don't have as much time for civic clubs. Bergerson mentioned the San Diego Woman’s Club is older (121) and they are struggling also.
At the meeting, I also met Candace Vanderhoff of RainThanks and Greywater, a licensed architect from South Park who heard about the club’s plight. She got in touch with them and offered to write a letter of interest to get them a grant from the city for their community garden. Candace specializes in rainwater and greywater (showers, laundry) reuse, which would enable the community garden to have free irrigation; this would cut utility costs considerably.
Membership fees for the club run $25 a year, and a lifetime membership is $1000. They meet on the first Monday of each month at 5:30 pm.
A fundraiser and auction are scheduled for October 4. They are looking for a band that can play classic rock to donate their time. Reach them at 619-222-1008, obwomansclub.org, and Facebook.