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Southwest Mobile Storage - Best Mobile Storage & Office Containers In Vista, CA

Southwest Mobile Storage is a family-owned shipping container business founded in 1995. Our strength for more than 25 years comes from the specialized knowledge and passion of our people, along with serving over 24,000 commercial, construction and residential customers. Our facility and expertise in maintaining, manufacturing, and delivering corrugated steel containers is unrivaled in the industry.

While the rental side of our business is regional with branches throughout the Southwest, our container sales and modification operations are nationwide and becoming global. Vista, CA offers a wide selection of portable offices and mobile storage containers you can rent, buy or modify.

Our experts in container rental, sales and customization are committed to providing you the highest quality and best experience from service to delivery - our reputation depends on it.

Whether your need is for storage, office space, moving, multi-purpose or custom use, we've got your back. Here's how:

Storage Containers Vista, CA



We bring your storage container to you for convenient, easy access at your home, business or jobsite. Plus, you'll get more choice in storage space and better security, for a fraction of the cost of a pod or add on building, saving money and energy.


Not enough room to keep a storage container at your business, home or construction site? No problem - we can store it for you. Plus, you get 70% more space and better security, for a fraction of the cost of public storage units.


Need a permanent storage solution for your business, residence or construction? We sell new and used shipping containers in many sizes with a variety of add-ons. Or customize a container to your specific storage needs with our certified fabrication experts.


Take your time packing with our moving containers. We'll deliver to your business or home and pick it up whenever you're ready to move. So, you don't have to stress about moving or making multiple trips in one day, like if you rented a moving truck.


Our moving container solutions ensure the long-distance move of your home or business is highly efficient and affordable throughout the southwest. In fact, we usually cost 20%-40% less than full-service movers.


We understand move-in and move-out dates might be different. We can store your moving container at our highly secure facilities until you're ready to move to your new home or business location, and you can conveniently access it at any time.


Whether you need a workspace, conference room, or other office requirement, our ground-mounted mobile offices meet any and all of your business needs. Plus, it's faster and easier than building additions.


If you need your shipping container to serve multiple uses, such as office-storage combos, breakrooms and even utilities, we've got you covered. We'll modify a custom container to fit your business needs and bring your business to the next level


We'll create a custom container to fit your unique needs anywhere in the US. With our container modification expertise, we make any idea a reality. From pop-up stores to multi-story structures, our unrivaled facilities and fabrication experts do it all.

You'll get your own dedicated storage and container expert to serve as your one point of contact for easy, convenient service you can trust.
With our wide selection of intermodal containers for sale and rent, you'll find exactly what you need, from size, to type and condition.
We maintain our rental fleet to the highest standard - our integrity depends on it.
Our certified, experienced Conex container modification experts have more than 500 years combined experience modifying ISO containers.
All of our containers come with high security dual-locking system for no additional charge, so you can rest assured your stored items stay safe and that you don't have to pay extra for it.
At our unrivaled 90,000 sq ft indoor fabrication facility, ensuring your custom shipping container is made exactly to your specifications.
With our level of service, quality and expertise, you won't find a better value anywhere else.
Our portable offices include lighting and electrical outlets, internet hookups, HVAC and were crafted by our in-house steel container fabrication experts for top-quality construction.

Premium Quality - High Security

With Southwest Mobile Storage, you get much more than a POD or typical Conex box. You also get high security, unparalleled service and unmatched container modification expertise and facilities. No other company offers that much.

Shipping containers and storage containers come in a range of sizes. The most common external lengths are 20ft and 40ft with a width of 8ft. ISO Containers are typically 8ft 6in tall, but high cube containers are 9ft 6in tall. We also have steel containers in a variety of sizes from 10ft long to 45ft long to rent or buy, and we can modify shipping containers into any size you want.

 Rent Storage Containers Vista, CA

SMS Mobile Storage Containers have these high quality features:

1/8" thick steel plate bottom side rails
High strength steel supporting cross members
1 1/8" thick hardwood floor with galvanized self-tapping screws
16-gauge corrugated steel walls
16-gauge roof
270-degree swing cargo door(s)
High security dual-locking system*
Spot-grinded, primed & repainted with a beige high-grade water reducible alkyd direct-to-metal enamel*
* Comes standard on all rental units

SMS portable workspace containers have these structural features:

High security window bars, lever & deadbolt set with lock box
Studs & R-19 Insulation covered with wood paneling
1 1/8" marine board floor is covered with a durable single part gray epoxy coating
Dual pane low-E horizontal sliding windows with screens and miniblinds
18 Gauge steel polystyrene core 3-hour fire rated personnel door
All of our workspaces are refurbished grade or better
Exterior load center operating on 100 Amp single phase 230 Volt power
Light switch, receptacles and 4' light fixtures; all wiring is Romex 12/2
CAT-6 voice and data lines with electrical junction box
HVAC units ranging from 1 ton to 2 ton on rentals; ability to customize up to 10 tons of cooling

Having flexible storage containers options is important, but security is crucial to protect your peace of mind and your possessions.

At Southwest Mobile Storage, we don't believe in leaving things to chance. We want you to rest easy knowing your inventory, documents, tools, equipment and other items are safe 24/7. That is why we equip SMS high-security slide bolt locking systems and lockboxes on our entire fleet of rental freight containers.


High-security slide-bolt locking system and extra-long lock box, giving you twice the security and peace of mind.
No holes to ensure your rental shipping container is wind and water-tight.
No rust for your safety.
14-gauge corrugated steel for strength and reinforcement.

Contact us to speak with a helpful, friendly representative to better understand our full range of capabilities. We are happy to answer any questions you have, go over pricing and set up a time and place to deliver your Conex box. Our quotes are 100% free and you are under no obligation to pay for your consultation.


When you own a business or manage one, it's crucial to have efficient, affordable ways to store inventory and supplies, whether it's to grow your business or adapt to changes in the market, like the many caused by the pandemic.

Renting storage containers to keep at your business eliminates the cost and hassles of sending your staff to offsite storage facilities. Steel containers with roll up doors make storing and retrieving items faster and easier. Auto repair shops and other businesses that need easy access throughout the workday to secure storage for tools, parts, equipment or supplies find renting shipping containers to be the best solution for their business storage needs. Southwest Mobile Storage has your back.

 Storage Containers For Rent Vista, CA

Renting portable offices gives your business more workspace, breakrooms, pop up stores, security booths and more, without the cost and red tape associated with constructing building additions. Plus, a steel storage container fits neatly into one parking space and provides much stronger security than Pods and way more convenience than self-storage units.

If you have a specific need, we can modify shipping containers to build whatever you need to grow your business. Whether it's a portable workspace to run your business, like a pop-up container bar, or a durable facility for scientific research, like a container laboratory, or even a container gym, our unrivaled fabrication facility and modification experts got you covered. Our full-time, in-house staff of certified welders, engineers, electricians, carpenters and painters have over 500 years combined experience modifying thousands of container projects for just about any business use you can imagine.


Offsite storage alternatives cause a mess of hassles and headaches. Expanding office space and storage capacity at your location saves time, money and hassle of making multiple trips offsite.
We offer more choice in security, size and features in steel Conex boxes or ISO shipping containers than a public storage unit or Pod for less cost and far greater service.
We offer flexible, month-to-month rental agreements and prorate by the day after your first 28-day billing cycle.
With us, you get a dedicated account manager you can rely on, so you can focus on running your business than waste time with a different person every time you call that doesn't know or care as much.
While other companies may have some staff for modifying containers, most outsource the work, so you don't know who is actually doing the modifications or how much they're marking up the price.
 Mobile Storage Containers Vista, CA
When you modify a shipping container for your business, you won't have to worry about expensive, lengthy and complicated construction.
We have modified thousands of containers nationwide and internationally for more than 25 years for NASA, US Navy, GCP Applied Technologies, Helix and Sundt to name a few. And rent containers to Amazon, Walmart and many of other nationally recognized brands.
Our extensive staff makes it possible to custom build multiple projects simultaneously and our 90,000 sq ft indoor fabrication facility prevents contaminants from interfering with fabrication, which delivers better quality and precision.


Building additions to your home can be very expensive and requires going through the hassle of securing permits and waiting for construction. You can save money, time and stress by modifying a shipping container instead. Whether you need additional space for a home gym, recreation or storage, we can convert steel containers into anything you can imagine. Our custom container gyms, man-caves or she-sheds, garages and more give you the extra space you need without the hassle, cost and wait that comes with home renovation.

Renting shipping containers for temporary storage, either when moving or dealing with restoration from a fire or flood, provides a secure, convenient way to keep your belongings close for accessing them whenever you need to. Plus, renting mobile storage containers for moving costs less than traditional movers and allows you to take your time packing, reducing the stress that comes from moving. You can also rent portable offices for your home to make working remotely distraction-free.

 Rent Shipping Containers Vista, CA


With an extensive in-house staff and 90,000 sq ft container modification facility, we're able to deliver consistently high quality and work on multiple projects simultaneously for a fast turnaround.

Other companies don't have the facility, staff or resources to modify shipping containers and will outsource the work to various shops who may not have the special experience or tools needed to modify the right way.

You can rest assured knowing your custom container is safe in our hands. Our certified weld and quality control inspectors ensure everything is structurally sound and built to your specifications through every step of the process.

Renting a moving container from us makes your move much less stressful because you won't have to rush to pack your whole house into a moving truck in one day. Instead, you can take your time packing over the course of a month.

Our ISO shipping containers are weatherproof and come with vault-like security, so you don't have to worry about theft or damage to your belongings.

You won't get that level of security from U-Haul or other moving truck companies.

Renting a storage container at your home keeps your belongings close and gives you convenient 24/7 access, so you're always able to retrieve the contents of your container when you need to.

We know move in and move out dates don't always line up. We can store your packed rental container at our secure facility until your new home is ready.

With our mobile storage containers for rent in Vista, CA, you can save up to 40% when compared to full-service long-distance movers, while gaining more flexibility in your schedule.


We know your needs may change suddenly. With our extensive inventory and variety of sizes of portable offices and shipping containers to rent, buy or modify in Vista, CA, we provide fast service and the best value possible so it's easy for you to get whatever you need when you need it.

Renting storage containers and portable offices from us gives you more flexibility when it comes to your schedule and options. If you don't have enough space at your current location or simply would prefer offsite storage, you can keep your rental storage and office containers at your location or ours - whichever is most convenient for you. You also get more options to choose from when it comes to size and features, like portable offices with divided rooms for private meetings or office/storage combos for storage and office space in one container. All while costing a fraction of the price of a pod or self-storage facility.

You can also buy new or used freight containers from us and choose from a variety of add-ons, including lights, electricity, doors and windows. Or fully customize a shipping container to save time, money and energy by skipping the expensive, lengthy process of constructing building additions. We can modify a Conex box into whatever you can imagine for any use you need, from construction tool cribs to office buildings, monitoring stations, mobile communication towers and much more. The possibilities are endless.


You'll never face hidden fees or surprises with us. We give you transparent billing up front at the best prices.

With us, you get a reliable, dedicated point of contact, who keeps you updated every step of the way. You can rest assured knowing you'll always get what you need, when you need it.

No other company has the breadth and depth of staff and experience that we do when it comes to modifying shipping containers. Our certified welders, engineers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters and painters have more than 500 years of combined experience in fabricating custom steel containers.

We prorate your rent by the day after the first 28-day billing cycle, so you don't have to pay for a full month when you only have your mobile containers and offices for a few days.

While other companies may be able to do small container modifications, most don't have an in-house fabrication staff or 90,000 sq ft fabrication facility like we do. As a result, they outsource the work on your custom container, so you don't know who's actually building it.

Rest assured knowing your modified shipping container will be built to the highest quality standards. Our certified weld and quality control inspectors check every step of the fabrication process to ensure everything is structurally sound and built to your specifications.


Whether you're in need of a storage container for your commercial business, a portable office for your construction site, or a moving container for your home, our process is simple and straightforward.

Choose Your Container

Choose the mobile storage solution that works best for your needs. In this step, you will let us know the number of containers you need, their sizes and what types of doors to equip.

Choose Your Options

Let us know if you would like to add any of our rental options, like a folding table or shelving.

Choose Your Security

Choose from padlocks, puck locks and other enhanced security options. All of our storage containers come standard with dual-locking, vault-like security.

Choose Your Delivery Timeframe

You can expect standard delivery within 3-5 days of your order. If you need expedited delivery, we will do everything in our power to accommodate your needs.

Pick-Up Planning

Do you need to keep your shipping container at our location? Prefer to have our team deliver your packed container to a location of your choice? Let us know, and we'll be by your side to work out the logistics.




Let our team know where we should deliver your mobile storage container for rent in Vista, CA. Be sure to let us know if there are any special conditions that might prevent our drivers from entering your chosen destination. Before you schedule your delivery, let us know which direction you would like the doors of your container to face.



Our drivers can deliver your storage container Monday-Friday, between the hours of 6AM and 2PM local time. Our two-hour delivery window is the most precise in the industry. If you desire another delivery time outside of our standard delivery options, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. As a courtesy, our driver will call you at least 30 minutes before they arrive at your drop-off destination.



Before we deliver your Conex box, prepare your delivery area by ensuring that there are no low overhangs, arches, wires, trees or any other obstacles that could interfere with your delivery. It's a good idea to mark the space where you would like your steel container placed.



When our driver arrives, they will back our truck into the space where you would like your shipping container placed. Once we arrive, we will ensure that your container is delivered safely and securely. If placed on asphalt or pavement, we will use wood dunnage pads to make sure your ground surface is protected and the container is level.


Check out our FAQ page or reach out to our helpful customer service team today @


Latest News in Vista, CA

In-Depth: SDG&E's century-long monopoly ends Sunday in San Diego, Chula Vista

--> Sorry, we're having issues playing this video.In the meantime, try watching one of the videos below.SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Next month, residents throughout San Diego and Chula Vista will be automatically enrolled with a new electricity service provider, ending a century-long monopoly by San Diego Gas & Electric in the county’s two largest cities.The change is designed to transition hundreds of thousands of residential customers to more renewable forms of electricity while maintaining competitive prici...


Sorry, we're having issues playing this video.In the meantime, try watching one of the videos below.

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Next month, residents throughout San Diego and Chula Vista will be automatically enrolled with a new electricity service provider, ending a century-long monopoly by San Diego Gas & Electric in the county’s two largest cities.

The change is designed to transition hundreds of thousands of residential customers to more renewable forms of electricity while maintaining competitive pricing.

The new provider, San Diego Community Power, will offer rates that are priced 2 percent below SDG&E’s service, at least initially. SDCP plans to review its rates about once per year with input from a board of local elected officials representing each city in its service area, SDCP chief operating officer Cody Hooven said. (SDCP has a bill comparison tool here.)

“Electricity is a traded commodity, so we don’t know what the prices will look like in the future, but what we can commit to is that we will always have as much clean energy as we can, and we will always have competitive pricing,” said Hooven.

SDCP is what’s called a community choice aggregator, a type of government-run non-profit organization that is becoming increasingly common in California. Nearly 40 percent of California’s electricity will be delivered by CCAs this year, according to trade group Cal CCA.

Customers enrolled with SDCP can choose to opt-out at any time and return to SDG&E, however, in other cities with community choice models, fewer than 10 percent of customers opt-out and there is little reason to do so at this stage, said renewable energy consultant Eric O'Shaughnessy.

“It’s proven to be a good model in California,” O'Shaughnessy said.

For more than 100 years, SDG&E has been in charge of all aspects of San Diego’s electricity. The utility generates or buys the electricity, transmits it over power lines, fixes the lines when something breaks, and sends out bills to residents.

Going forward, SDG&E will continue to handle billing and repairs on the power grid, but San Diego Community Power will take over one important part of the process: buying the electricity.

This year, SDCP began servicing customers in Imperial Beach, La Mesa, and Encinitas. Once San Diego and Chula Vista come online in May, SDCP will serve an estimated 770,000 customers, Hooven said.

Customers will be automatically enrolled in SDCP’s standard plan, which is made up of 50 percent renewable energy from solar, wind, and hydroelectric dams. SDG&E currently offers a mix of electricity that is about 31 percent renewable.

Residents can choose to pay slightly more for a 100 percent renewable energy plan, or they can opt-out altogether and go back to getting all aspects of their service from SDG&E. The lone exception is in Encinitas: customers there will be automatically enrolled in the premium all-renewable plan from the start.

The only visible difference for customers will be a single line item on the SDG&E bill.

“The reality is, folks probably won’t notice a change at all. That’s really a good thing. If nothing changes in their day-to-day and they’re just getting cleaner power at a slightly reduced rate, that’s a win for us,” Hooven said.

How can SDCP offer electricity that is both greener and cheaper? Community choice aggregators like SDCP aren’t subject to the same long-term contracts for renewable energy that the utilities are, O'Shaughnessy said.

“Renewable energy used to be a lot more expensive. SDG&E or other utilities bought renewables when they were rather expensive. CCAs are buying them when they're cheap,” he said.

Massachusetts authorized the first CCA in 1997. The model has since been adopted in Ohio, California, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Illinois, and New York. Three more states will launch CCAs soon.

“It has mostly worked,” O'Shaughnessy said. “For the most part, CCAs do get lower costs through negotiating with suppliers. Not always. A good example is Illinois.”

From 2015 to 2020, Illinois customers in these community choice programs paid higher rates than they would have otherwise, overpaying by more than $1 billion, according to the Citizens Utility Board.

However, California’s CCAs have not been plagued by the same issues, which is why the Golden State now has the largest community choice program in the country, O'Shaughnessy said.

The primary goal of CCAs in California is to accelerate the green energy transition.

In San Francisco, the model allowed the city to cut greenhouse gas emissions to well below what they were in 1990. Most customers seemed to like the service: the opt-out rate was below 4 percent in 2019.

“What we’re encouraging folks to do is stay with us,” Hooven said. “See how you like it. Maybe go on our website and play with the bill comparison tool and do some research. If you don’t like it after a few months, you always have the choice to opt out.”

Customers can switch between SDCP’s two renewable plans or opt-out at any time. However, customers who opt-out and return to SDG&E are locked into the utility’s service for at least one year, Hooven said.

Chula Vista Woman Admits Faking Cancer While Attempting to Avoid Prison for Fraud Conviction

SAN DIEGO – Ashleigh Lynn Chavez pleaded guilty in federal court today to Obstruction of Justice, admitting that she repeatedly forged doctor’s notes falsely indicating she had been diagnosed with cancer, and that she caused these notes to be submitted to the court through her attorneys.According to publicly available court documents, Chavez, 37, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in November 2019, admitting that she embezzled more than $160,000 from a former employer. She was permitted to remain out of custody pending ...

SAN DIEGO – Ashleigh Lynn Chavez pleaded guilty in federal court today to Obstruction of Justice, admitting that she repeatedly forged doctor’s notes falsely indicating she had been diagnosed with cancer, and that she caused these notes to be submitted to the court through her attorneys.

According to publicly available court documents, Chavez, 37, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in November 2019, admitting that she embezzled more than $160,000 from a former employer. She was permitted to remain out of custody pending sentencing. She faced a likely prison term. On the eve of her sentencing, Chavez created a doctor’s note that falsely stated a biopsy had revealed “cancerous cells” in her uterus and forged the signature of her doctor on this letter. Chavez then provided the note to her attorney who, believing it to be genuine, submitted it to the court and to the assigned prosecutor in a bid for leniency.

On March 31, 2021, Chavez was sentenced to serve 12 months and 1 day in federal prison. As a direct result of the forged doctor’s note she had caused her attorney to submit, she was permitted to remain out of custody for an additional three months so that she could receive medical treatment.

As detailed in her plea agreement, after her sentencing hearing Chavez hired a new attorney whom she provided with additional forged letters from two different San Diego-area physicians. The new attorney, also believing the letters to be genuine, submitted them to the assigned prosecutor and to the court.

One forged letter, purporting to be from an oncologist, said: “Ashleigh has limitations due to uterine cancer and future need for radiation.” Other letters indicated that she was undergoing a surgical procedure, that she had been admitted to the hospital, and that her “condition has progressed… to Stage II; the cancer has spread to the cervix.” One letter warned that “she cannot be exposed to COVID-19” because of her fragile state. In August 2021, Chavez was purportedly scheduled to begin chemotherapy. Her attorney contacted the assigned prosecutor and indicated that she was too ill to work, and that as a result she needed to be relieved of monthly restitution obligations to the victim in her previous case.

By August 2021, the notes forged by Chavez were overtly recommending that the court reconsider her prison sentence and instead permit her to serve time on home confinement. In one forged note attributed to a San Diego-area oncologist, Chavez wrote that “(a) year in prison could be a death sentence for my patient… I highly recommend the chance to allow home confinement or anything else that you deem appropriate rather than a year in prison.” Two weeks later, she forged a note from the same oncologist stating that “Ashleigh’s cancer, it has in fact metastasized affecting the lymph nodes… I recommend a different approach to her sentencing.”

In fact, Chavez was never diagnosed with or treated for cancer by either doctor. When contacted by government representatives, both doctors denied writing any of the letters attributed to them. While Chavez had been a patient of one, the second doctor had never heard of her and had no idea how or why his identity had been stolen and his signature repeatedly forged by Chavez.

“This defendant, already convicted of one fraud, worked for months to commit additional frauds on the federal court,” said U.S. Attorney Grossman. “While her dishonesty delayed payment of her debt to society, it will cost her still more time in prison.” Grossman thanked the prosecution team and the FBI for their excellent work on this case.

“The defendant went to great lengths to avoid reporting to prison for her prior fraud conviction by faking doctor’s notes claiming she had cancer – an insult to cancer patients everywhere,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Stacey Moy. “May today’s guilty plea finally put an end to this odyssey to obstruct justice which, in the end, will only add additional time to her sentence.”

Chavez faces up to 10 additional years in federal prison and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 27, 2022, by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Battaglia.

DEFENDANT Case No. 22-CR-0318-AJB


aka “Ashleigh Lynn Coulson”

aka “Ashleigh Chavez Coulson”

aka “Carlos Garcia”


Obstruction of Justice – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1503

Maximum penalty: Ten years in custody and a $250,000 fine.


Federal Bureau of Investigation

Bracelets not Bombs: Small Vista bead shop making a big difference

VISTA, Calif. — The war in Ukraine may feel like it's a world away, but not to three people in Vista. In this Zevely Zone, I learned how a small bead shop is making a big difference. A few weeks ago, we aired a story about the City of Vista's new podcast which took us to the door of Beads, Crystals and More. That's where we were introduced to Phil Fischman and a dream. "When we started, I just wanted to do good," said Phil. "We are creati...

VISTA, Calif. — The war in Ukraine may feel like it's a world away, but not to three people in Vista. In this Zevely Zone, I learned how a small bead shop is making a big difference. A few weeks ago, we aired a story about the City of Vista's new podcast which took us to the door of Beads, Crystals and More. That's where we were introduced to Phil Fischman and a dream. "When we started, I just wanted to do good," said Phil. "We are creating bracelets for Ukraine, using all of the blue and yellow colors."

Using the colors of Ukraine, with beads from all over the world: bracelets instead of bombs. "This is Ghana glass, glass from Africa," said Phil. "These are beads from the Czech Republic. It hit me powerfully, a few days before the war started, my mom was born in Kyiv, my grandma was, I believe, also born in Kyiv."

Phil, along with his wife Valeri, and the shop's manager Dorisanne are making bracelets day and night. "We are doing it with every blue and yellow bead we have in the store," said Valeri. Fundraisers usually pass along 10 or 20% of the proceeds, but not the Fischmans. They are donating their labor. "Everything," said Phil. What about the cost of the beads? "Everything," smiled Phil which means 100% of every donation helps Ukraine.

"We have nothing to gain from this but goodness," said Phil. Valeri added, "What's going on right now needs as much help and support as anyone can provide."

"We sent the first check for a thousand dollars to World Central Kitchen. We sent the second check about a week later to Doctors without Borders," said Phil. People all over the US are buying the bracelets. "These are friends in Florida who have all been wearing bracelets and praying for peace in Ukraine," said Phil while showing me pictures of people wearing the jewelry. The shop's manager Dorisanne Soyka doesn't mind the sore fingers from hours of crafting. "I can't tell you how delighted the people are to be able to feel like they can do something," said Dorisanne.

Some of the beads come from Russia itself. "It's not the Russian people who are creating war," said Phil. Individually, beads may be pretty, but bind them together, they become as powerful as people. Phil showed me a picture of a lifetime spent promoting peace. "I was protesting war 50 years ago when we graduated high school it was the Vietnam War," said Phil. I asked him if he was surprised by how his dream took off? "No," said Phil who then paused and said, "Yes!" with a huge laugh.

Their bracelet making and fundraiser have led to $13,000 in donations so far. Maybe they should rename their shop and call it Beads, Crystals and SO MUCH More. "Sometimes it makes me feel like crying, but most of the time it just makes me feel good inside," said Phil. "To be able to do something for people in need is very heartwarming."

Phil is a nationally certified Gemologist, trained at the world-renowned GIA. Valeri Okun worked for decades in the traditional mental health field.

The bracelets are sold at all different price points. They range in price from $5 up to $100. If you'd like to buy a bracelet to help the people in Ukraine, call the shop at (760) 536-3663 or email Phil at You can also click here to see their website.

Marin’s Peter Pike Jr. discusses ‘California Bound’ among this week’s author talks

Book eventsBook Passage: 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera; 415-927-0960; May 1: IJ lifestyles editor Vicki Larson discusses “Not Too Old For That.” 1 p.m. in person; May 1: Jessi Klein discusses “I’ll Show Myself Out” with Leigh Weinraub. 4 p.m. in person; May 2: Ash Davidson discusses “Damnation Spring” and Aamina Ahmad discusses “The Return of Faraz Ali.” 1 p.m. in person; M...

Book events

Book Passage: 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera; 415-927-0960; May 1: IJ lifestyles editor Vicki Larson discusses “Not Too Old For That.” 1 p.m. in person; May 1: Jessi Klein discusses “I’ll Show Myself Out” with Leigh Weinraub. 4 p.m. in person; May 2: Ash Davidson discusses “Damnation Spring” and Aamina Ahmad discusses “The Return of Faraz Ali.” 1 p.m. in person; May 2: Mieko Kawakami discusses “All The Lovers in the Night” with Ruth Ozeki. 6 p.m. online. $5 to $28. Register online; May 3: Jeff Deutsch discusses “In Praise of Good Bookstores” with Luisa Smith. 1 p.m. in person; May 3: Ann Hood discusses “Fly Girl” with Andres Dubus III. 5:30 p.m. online; May 4: V (Eve Ensler) discusses “The Apology” with Johann Hari. 1 p.m. online; May 4: “Letter to a Stranger” event featuring editor Colleen Kinder, Lavinia Spalding, Akemi Johnson, Meera Subramanian, Faith Adiele, Emmanuel Iduma and Anna Vodicka. 5:30 p.m. online; May 5: Paul Holes discusses “Unmasked” with George Fong. 1 p.m. in person or online. $35. Register online; May 5: Meredith May discusses “Loving Edie” with Julian Guthrie. 5:30 p.m. online; May 7: Jonathan Howland discusses “Native Air” with Luisa Smith. 4 p.m. in person.

Copperfield’s Books: May 4: Marin author Anthony Lee Head discusses “Driftwood” and Chip Bell discusses “Why Don’t We Get Drunk.” 6 p.m. online. Register online.

Marin Art and Garden Center: 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Ross; 415-250-3611; May 4: Greenbrae resident Peter Pike Jr. discusses “California Bound” at the Moya Library-Ross Historical Society event. 11 a.m. in person. $10 donation.

Point Reyes Books: 11315 Highway 1, Point Reyes Station; 415-663-1542; May 1: Irene Solà discusses “When I Sing, Mountains Dance,” presented by Thinking Like a Mountain. Noon online. Register online.

Westminster Presbyterian Church: 240 Tiburon Blvd., Tiburon; 415-383-5272; May 7: Tiburon author Lee Darby discusses “Stars in Our Eyes” with the Rev. Bethany Nelson, presented by Westminster Events. 1:30 p.m. in person.

Other talks

The Image Flow: 328 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo; 415-388-3569; May 5: Photographer and art historian Jeffrey Martz discusses “A History of Photography.” 7 p.m. in person. Every other Thursday through June 30. $125 for the series. Register online.

The Outdoor Art Club: 1 West Blithedale Ave., Mill Valley; May 5: Search for Common Ground’s Jacqueline Oburu and Judy Kimamo discuss “Peacebuilding on the Frontlines.” 1 p.m. online. Register online.

Peace Corps: May 6: Peace Corps volunteers and Novato residents Madeline and Clint Kellner speak on a panel about their Peace Corps experiences. Noon online. Register online.

— Compiled by Colleen Bidwill

The literary calendar appears Sundays. Email listings to Photos should be 300 dpi JPGs with a minimum file size of 2 megabytes and should include caption information.

Chula Vista church becomes a way station for Ukrainians seeking refuge in the U.S.

Calvary Chapel in Chula Vista offers food and shelter for Ukrainian refugees arriving in the U.S. from Mexico.SAN DIEGO —For the past two weeks, Calvary Chapel in Chula Vista has been a way station for people fleeing the war in Ukraine.They show up at all hours, a couple hundred daily, after long journeys that have left them exhausted.Exhausted, but safe.“We’ve been living in fear,” Olga Slonovska said after she arrived with her family. “Now we can relax.”The eva...

Calvary Chapel in Chula Vista offers food and shelter for Ukrainian refugees arriving in the U.S. from Mexico.


For the past two weeks, Calvary Chapel in Chula Vista has been a way station for people fleeing the war in Ukraine.

They show up at all hours, a couple hundred daily, after long journeys that have left them exhausted.

Exhausted, but safe.

“We’ve been living in fear,” Olga Slonovska said after she arrived with her family. “Now we can relax.”

The evacuees stay at the church for a day or two before moving on to live with family or friends already in the U.S. They are part of what the federal government says could be 100,000 Ukrainians allowed into the country because of the war.

While at the church, they have access to showers, food, the internet, inflatable mattresses for naps and other services. There is a play area for small children, a charging station for phones and laptops, a rack with donated clothes. Signs taped to walls provide guidance in handwritten Ukrainian.

Volunteer translators answer questions and volunteer travel agents help them book flights to their next stops. Volunteer drivers take them to the airport.

“We’ll do it for as long as we can,” said Phil Metzger, lead pastor at the Otay Ranch church.

Repurposed classrooms

He was a missionary in Eastern Europe for 25 years, familiar with Ukraine because Calvary has a couple dozen churches there. When the war broke out, he said, church leaders decided to help — first with evacuations and medicine deliveries there, and then with a temporary shelter here.

His church’s proximity to the border — about 9 miles — made it a good fit for a way station. After the Ukrainians pass through U.S. customs, they are brought in cars and vans to Calvary Chapel, which repurposed some of its school classrooms into spaces for the newcomers.

At first, Metzger said, the church thought it might be helping 40 or 50 people a day. It’s been three or four times that: single women, mothers with children, families of six, older couples. By the end of last week, Calvary had assisted almost 2,000 people, with several thousand more waiting in Tijuana.

“For us, it’s unsustainable,” Metzger said as he watched a swirl of activity around him at the church. “We have the heart for this kind of work, but not the skills.”

His phone buzzed regularly with texts about new arrivals. “The federal government really needs to take over,” he said. “They invited them.”

Other local churches and nonprofit organizations such as Jewish Family Services have been helping, and a system is emerging that steers evacuees to San Diego International Airport for their connecting flights sooner, easing the need for temporary shelter. Late last month, the county said it was gearing up to welcome refugees whose U.S. destination is here.

Metzger said he expects it will be “days, not weeks” before Calvary’s services are no longer needed.

In the meantime, families like the Slonovskas arrive, suitcases in hand, exhausted.


They are from Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. It’s been shelled heavily during the Russian invasion. The Slonovskas — grandmother, parents, two girls — fled first to Hungary, then to Paris. They flew to Mexico City, then to Tijuana, where they spent three nights before they were allowed to cross.

The journey took more than two weeks.

“Finally we feel safe,” Olga Slonovska said Thursday morning. Her family sat at a table outside the church, under an awning set up in a parking lot. They were interviewed with the help of a Russian translator.

Olga is a hairdresser in Ukraine. Her husband, Ronan, works in I.T. Their daughters Darina and Lilia are 18 and 12, respectively.

They have family in Colorado, which is where they are headed next. They will be staying with a relative they haven’t seen in seven years.

Olga said they are planning to return to Kharkiv when it’s safe, an apparently common expectation among the evacuees who have come to the church. “I’m not hearing anybody talk about starting a new life in America,” Metzger said.

The Slonovskas said they were surprised to hear about what Calvary Chapel was doing, and grateful. Soon the girls were inside the shelter, exploring a room where travel toiletries were available. Their parents went into another room where food was arranged: bread, apples, ramen, cold cereal, bananas, oatmeal, tangerines.

The work is personal

Some of the supplies have come via donations from San Diegans who drive up to the church and drop off the items. “I’m just happy to help,” one woman said after delivering a crate of bottled water. Others have opened their homes as temporary places for the Ukrainians to sleep.

The volunteers have come from all over, too, and for some of them the work is personal. Lena Ryzhak, who lives in Rancho Bernardo, came here as a student from Ukraine 20 years ago and stayed. Her sister Anna still resides in Ukraine, in Kyiv.

Or did, until recently. Anna, too, has fled the war, traveling on train and on foot, waiting for hours without food and water to cross the border into Poland, and eventually making her way to Switzerland.

“I couldn’t sleep, all those days, worried about whether she was safe,” Ryzhak said. “I’m so thankful she made it.”

She was at Calvary Chapel on Thursday, working as a translator, doing what she can, she said, to pay it forward.

Her sister’s journey isn’t over. She has a visa to fly out of Switzerland next week, to San Diego, where Ryzhak will be waiting with a place to stay.

According to the United Nations, more than 10 million Ukrainians have been displaced by the war, including 4.3 million who have left for other countries.


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