Like so many of you, as 2020 draws to a close I am reflecting on how the world has changed this year. Beginning in March, we learned we needed to adjust our carefree ways to protect ourselves and others from the devastation of COVID-19. We learned how to stay at home, work from home, teach from home, wear masks, and stay away from loved ones. This was not an easy task. Many in our Portuguese Community have immediate families that consist of at least 30 people. We learned how to attend meetings, schedule visits, and communicate “virtually.” ZOOM and Microsoft Teams are common terms for us now. We used Facetime to chat with friends and loved ones. But, with all of these changes, I am encouraged by how quickly we have adapted to our new world.
As an organization, we also had to adapt and think outside-of-the-box. We needed to find solutions to pay for everyday PHC expenses. Our first change was to raise Membership prices. Although a small increase, we were concerned about our Members and how this would affect them. We were so grateful to all who supported us and understood why we needed to make this change. Although the Center building had to be closed because of COVID restrictions, we decided to sell our merchandise during the UPSES Drive-thru events. This was a great success! So far, the sales have paid for three month’s rent at least.
When we could open in early summer, we saw our community come together. We saw more foot traffic at the Center, people wanting to get out and learn about the Portuguese in San Diego, and donating to keep our doors open.
I want to acknowledge and thank my Board for all they have done this year. They have seen the chaos yet stood together as a united group. I am happy to lead this fine organization and feel so proud that we can continue to document our history for future generations …. and have fun doing it.
Despite the challenges of 2020, we have kept our spirits high. We are hoping for a better 2021. I pray for each one of you that the Lord protect you and your loved ones and keep you safe from this devastating disease. Also, to all who have lost a loved one this past year, the Portuguese Historical Center embraces you with comfort. To our members, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Healthy & Prosperous New Year.
Boas Festas e Feliz Ano Novo!
Therese Garces, PHC President