Monday, December 7, 2020

IMPORTANT DATES!!! Holiday Card Sales and Update on Giving for Children at the TLC in Venice

 Long time, no see...I know.  I've been a bit blog-lazy during the pandemic, but that's going to change in the New Year. Promises, promises...

TWC does have some important upcoming dates I'd like to share with you along with some absolutely gorgeous holiday cards celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah and that general holiday card. Wendy, Judith and Karen are working hard on creating some beautiful cards. 

Because of this wretched Pandemic, we have decided not to sell cards at the Bin this year, but we will be taking orders and will have them bundled and ready for pick up and if you're unable to collect them, we are happy to deliver. For those who want All Occasion cards, I am going to put those images on another blog post, but they will be available for sale individually or in boxed sets of 10...same price as the holiday cards.

HOLIDAY CARDS: Place your orders by this Saturday, December 12
Cards are available individually for $5 or in sets of 10 for $25. So if you buy 10 they're half price. Please note that it's fine to specify an individual card for purpose but if you buy a boxed set, they will be miscellaneous, but all nice. Send your orders to Teresa or me and pay online through our website or send a check to CP. Here are some examples of our gorgeous cards.

Mittened Heart

Advent bowl

Hope, something we all need



Love in the snow

At the stroke of midnight

Peace, Hope, Fatith

Penguin Walk

Frosty Pinecones


Shell Xmas Tree

Snowy Owl

Plus we have some terrific Hanukkah cards.

Dreidel, dreidel, Dreidel!

Hanukkah cookies

Menorah and gifts

Menorah candles


Jill Palethorpe is working hard at creating the interactive gift list for the kids at the TLC. Because tenants had to be moved into motels for some work that was done at 650 Westminster, everything has been delayed and Lucia only just got the list to us. Since most of us won't be going into the shops, there's still plenty of time to order online. We're running late this year!

Last year at Lin's house.

And because we won't be able to gather at our annual wrapping party this year, all gifts for the children at the TLC should be dropped off at Teresa's house where we'll have two tables set up. Gifts should be wrapped and clearly labeled as to which child they're for and gift receipts left inside (especially important where shoes and clothing are involved). 

There are 42 children at Bessie Pregerson, 23 girls and 19 boys). Nancy contacted the Linus Project a while back and brought over beautiful, soft and cuddly blankets, one for each child, that the LP has generously given us. We are getting the big white bags this week, and a blanket will go in each bag, plus crayons/coloring book and a small game. Rya Hollander who is not a volunteer but a young mom in Calabasas, donated some high end formula (Terry took this over to BP today for the infant siblings of kids who attend the school) and when dropping it off she called me and said as she was driving home she just kept thinking 'what else can I do to help the kids. I told her I was getting ready to buy colouring books and crayons for each child and she said that she would like to do that and so she's meeting me at the bin on Wednesday with those items, plus one other little game. Also, each child will get a Beanie Baby (Terry Welles brought over LOADS of these that are like brand new, and then another volunteer (can't remember who darn it but I know I'll remember after I send this out) brought brought bagged sets of Matchbox cars in like new condition...enough for each boy to have a bag in his Christmas sack. 

Friday, October 18, 2019

Photos from Today's Set-up for a Family of Five

Today’s set-for a mom and her four daughters, ranging in age from 17 down to 12 months, went really well. Teresa and Wendy coordinated it so beautifully that packing all five of them into a two-bedroom, one-bath unit seemed the perfect fit.

Joining me today were Mary Cleveland, Andrea Palella, Isabel Freeman and Noelle Berman. Noelle brought some thoughtful additions to the set-up, Andrea brought some yummy soup from her freezer, and Annie Gabbert shopped VERY generously (her children went shopping with her and were insistent that these children moving in needed the fancy extras!). Terry Welles donated a great high chair so the entire family can all sit comfortably in the little dining area and Isabel Freeman brought two great trick or treat buckets. I know I'm forgetting to thank someone, so please forgive me!

This is just a short posting because I wanted you all to see the gorgeous ‘stuff’ that Teresa and Wendy pulled together for this family.

And just a little reminder, our Challenge Grant campaign is on right now. If you have questions, please contact Debra Silbar at and she will help you with setting up your own personalized fundraising page.

And here are the photos from today. I have tried repeatedly to change the order of these photos, but no luck, but you'll get a good idea of how it all looked, irregardless of order!

Mom & Baby Girl are sharing the room.

Tight squeeze...three girls in one room, but it turned out beautifully
and I know these children will be happy to have a bed to
call their own.
Lovely crib for the baby and someone donated these darling wall decals. It defined
the baby's space just perfectly and sweetly.

Beautiful quilt made by The Linus Project and special items for the teen
from Noelle Berman.

Three girls sharing the room

I love this pink lamp and the gorgeous print that Wendy Skolfield gave us.

Another Linus Project throw on the couch, a fabulous rug that Teresa
found from a new source and loads of magazines for the family.

Fresh fruit and a welcome gift card. And that great high chair in the
corner donated by Terry Welles. 

A full cupboard!

Love the Halloween buckets! Thanks, Isabel Freeman!

Annie Gabbert packed the fridge with things I know the family will love.

Noelle, how do you still look so purty after working
so hard!?

Aren't the colors in this bathroom just perfect!?

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

September 19 General Meeting

We had a lively meeting at Teresa Royer’s lovely home last Thursday evening with 20 TWC volunteers in attendance. As usual, the food and company were fantastic. If you’ve never been able to make a TWC evening potluck, please try and join us in the future. It’s a nice way to spend a couple of hours and helps you understand just what it is that we’ve been up to between meetings.

Nancy Hanson kindly took notes so I’d like to share them with you so you’ll all be up to date with TWC happenings. Any omissions are mine.

It’s Been a Busy Year!
Firstly, we’ve been busy. At the meeting we mentioned that we’ve had 41 set-ups since January.  Well, this week has been busy and we’re now (as of Friday) up to 45. And that, as you all know, takes some organizing and a fair amount of money. While we’re happy that so many families are being moved along into permanent housing, we also know we can’t let up for a minute on our fundraising efforts.

2019 Challenge Grant Campaign
To that end, Debra Silbar and Karla Morrison have been hard at work on our 2019 Challenge Grant Campaign. Debra, working hard with Network for Good, has put together a great, easy-to-navigate fundraising page. Karla has secured $10,000 in matching funds so we need to raise that amount to ensure we get it all! We have sent all volunteers the information on how you can set up your own fundraising page and Debra is happy to answer any questions you might have. Remember, you can change the wording, personalize it with photos of you on a set-up or if you need photos drop me an email and I’ll help find photos for you. Then, scoot your personalized page to Deb for approval and then you’re up and running! Our goal is to raise enough money to furnish 40 apartments. Hopefully you can get your friends and family to support you in this endeavor.

Let’s make this year super successful, as next year, with the upcoming election, might be a slow year for garnering donations.

This is something that TWC has in abundance! It’s amazing how things just seem to come together, though not without a lot of behind the scenes activity. Teresa and Emma spend a lot of time shopping and pulling for the set-ups, taking inventory at the Bin and making sure we never completely run out of things. It’s a fine-tuned dance and they do a great job.  Teresa shared a story of how she was at Wal-Mart t’other week and one of the employees, who had served her before, was looking for an open register so he could pay for his soda (he was on his break). Teresa told him she’d get it for him so he swiped his employee card and thanked her profusely. What she didn’t realize was that card swipe gave her the employee discount and she got $54 off her total order!

Patty Colvig is our non-perishable gal and when supplies are running low, Teresa scoots her a shopping list and off she goes. She’s got a good eye for bargains and is a familiar face at Smart and Final where she does most of her shopping!

Lorna and Nancy are constantly making new cards and ensuring that we have fresh images. The ‘Inspire’ series, Patty Colvig’s inspiration, has been a best seller, as well as the all the other cards we stock.

Noelle Berman is an angel for doing ALL the printing of the vellum inserts for all our cards. She’s been doing this for us for years and we are beyond appreciative.

Nancy and her merry team of Bin Goddesses never fail to show up for their Saturday morning duties (9 to 10:30 unless it’s a holiday weekend or raining or just too hot). They keep the bin tidy and organized and are the beautiful public face of TWC. Stop on by and say hi if you see them.

Years ago, Sue Forbes went to her dentist and asked for some toothbrushes. He gave her a few, but she kept her hand out until he’d given her dozens…along with floss and toothpaste. Consider asking your dentist if he could help out in this way.

For the past few years Jill Palethorpe has been putting together our interactive holiday gift list so I’ll be asking her soon if she’s willing to help us again this year.

I know I’m forgetting to thank some of you, so please forgive me. Any omissions are my own.

Topanga Elementary School
We’d like to have another school-wide food drive, perhaps near the Thanksgiving holiday. Patty Colvig, who has organized a number of food drives at the school and in her neighborhood in past years, is going to approach the school, but if we have any TWC volunteers who have children at the school, perhaps you’d like to help coordinate this.

Upcoming Project
It’s been over 10 years since we last painted our bin so that’s something we will be organizing in the near future. We’ll keep the river rock wall that Liz Dupuy painted and keep the color scheme much like it is, but we’ll also be organizing new signage.

Messenger Article/Ad
We have a wonderful community newspaper that is offering us special rates for advertising and is happy to print articles we might submit. Let’s make our community profile more visible. This organization is open to all!

Welcome to new volunteer, Jax Tatro. We’re happy to have you on board!

Two important dates to add to your calendar:

November 23: Holiday and All Occasion Cards for Sale at Lin’s House. I’ll send out a reminder closer to the date with some of the gorgeous images we’re using this year.

December 14: Holiday Wrapping at Lin’s house. Each year we get a wish list from the children (with help from parents) at Venice Community Housing’s Transitional Living Center. This includes things the children really want and things they really need.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Four Move-Ins in One problem!

Last week was busy...four move-ins; two in Venice and two at Westwood. None of them were huge, but all required lots of forethought. Fortunately, Teresa keeps a running inventory of just what's in the bin. Occasionally we run low, but it's rare and this is where the generosity of our donors and volunteers is most apparent. If non-perishables run a little low, Teresa gets a list to Patty Colvig, and out she goes, restocking our bin. Because of the goodness of your hearts and your generous spirits, we are able to purchase what we need and when we need it.

And speaking of generosity of our volunteers, Linda Kort dropped me a line last night saying she and her hubs had a housewarming party and instead of asking for anything for themselves, they requested canned food or kitchen utensils. Here's the haul!

The 'haul' from Linda Kort's Open House!

Every move-in has a story and while they aren't always shared with us, be assured that their path to housing has been long and difficult. Imagine trying to keep all your paperwork in one place, easily accessible, when you don't have a room to call your own. Imagine making all the right choices when life is throwing challenges at you that few of us have experienced or will ever experience. And then think of the joy these families must experience when they move in. Clean, fresh bedding and bath items, a kitchen filled with everything you need to create a meal...perishable and non-perishable food, drawers filled with everything including new pots and pans, cutlery, measuring cups and spoons, tea towels and cleaning supplies.

We are always in need of personal care items, especially for moms. When you're out shopping, please consider picking up some tampax or sanitary napkins for the moms and teens. These products are so expensive.

What follows are photos in no particular order of some of the work we did last week.

This flat at Westwood had a brand new kitchen
because of flood damage

It all starts with bags and confusion but quickly
sorts itself out!

Full fridges. Thank you, Lizzie!! Can you imagine
how great it feels not having to go grocery
shopping after the exhaustion of a move.
We like to fill the cupboards as well!

Bathroom ready for new move-in to the TLC
in Venice

Bunkbeds...not much fun to make but kids love them!

Mom & kids share a bedroom at the TLC
in Venice. Sometimes it gets crowded but still
much better than a shelter or a relative's couch or
sleeping rough.

At Westwood, some of the units are small. This is a one bedroom
and Mom and Baby are sharing. Nice robe for Mom.

Venice or Westwood, we always include a welcome card
made even more special with a Target gift card.

So good for these families to have new
personal care products.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Xmas Giving and First Move In of 2019

Topanga Women's Circle volunteers had a well-deserved break over the holidays and it felt good. Between preparing the donation bags for each child at the Bessie Pregerson Child Development Center at Westwood, all made possible by the generosity of Nancy and Charlie Hanson and The Linus Project, and providing a full Christmas for the children resident at Venice Community Housing's Transitional Living Center, we were ready for a some TWC downtime.

Here are a few photos from the Venice delivery. A good turn-out of TWC elves wrapped everything beautifully and through the generosity of TWC volunteers who gave so generously to these needy children and Jill Palethorpe who yet again prepared the interactive, online gift giving list of wants and needs for these kids, we were able to create a magical holiday for these families who have suffered so many hardships.
Car loaded and ready for delivery

Packed car!

Safely delivered to the Community Room at the TLC. Each mom took her child's sack
up to their room so the gifts were opened privately.

And now our first move-in of 2019. Just a small, dad and baby but life will feel a whole lot more comfortable for them now that they are out of the shelter and into their new home. The only unit available for this family was a one-bedroom unit and when we arrived at the apartment, the crib and bed were all crammed into that small room. I think we can all remember that wonderful moment when baby finally went to bed and as exhausted parents we'd collapse on the couch. With that in mind, and only one bedroom, I asked Anthony and Nicholas (who work at Westwood), if they'd set-up the parents' bed in the living room and have the crib in the little bedroom. They agreed but the bed wasn't fully assembled until after we left which is why it isn't 'dressed.'

Many thanks to Lizzie Kipner for filling the fridge for this family, to Cynthia Scott for the lovely flowers, to Wendy Skolfield for going shopping for diapers, etc., to Teresa and Emma who gathered everything together for this family and to Teresa, Lizzie & Isabel Freeman who joined me in creating a comfortable little home for these new folks.

Baby's bedroom

Large bathroom

Jolly shower curtain

Lovely Arbonne products from Margaret French Isaac

Had to rearrange the living room to accommodate the bed

Dining room table with lovely flowers courtesy of Cynthia Scott
and welcome card including a gift card for Target

Anthony, always cheerful and helpful with my fabulous co-chair Teresa Royer on the
right and the lovely Lizzie Kipner on the left.

A full fridge. Thank you Lizzie!

Donations of table cloths really make these scarred
and well-used tables far more attractive!
Anthony texted me this picture of the bed in the
living room. It will give the parents and the
baby a little privacy at night. Needs must...