Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Photos and at the end...Why We Do What We Do

Karen and many volunteers kept super busy while I was away and the set-ups continued this week with two more.  Loads of you volunteered to help and due to everything else on our packed calendar just now, I am going to let the pictures do the talking.

But before I do, many thanks to Teresa for hosting the super meeting last week and to all of you for  making such a super effort to make this Christmas so special for the kids at Venice Community Housing.  We look forward to seeing as many of you as can make it to our wrapping party this Saturday, December 15, 10 AM to 4 PM at my house (2670 Topanga Skyline Drive/310.455.3850).  We seem to have plenty of tape but will need more scissors and wrapping paper/ribbon/gift tags.

Also a big thank you to Leslie Carlson and all at Topanga Homegrown for their terrific evening and generous donation to TWC.

And another big thank you to Liz Dupuy and the girls of Louisville for all their donations of personal care and other terrific items.  They have come through for TWC for several years now and their generosity is so appreciated.


And finally, enlarge the photo of the letter below by clicking on it.  TWC often contributes teen clothing to Safe Place for Youth (SPY), a drop-in center for run-away teens in Venice.  Through SPY we learned of a young man who was being moved into his own apartment.  He had nothing and we were able to share with him bed linens and towels and cleaning items and non-perishable foods.  
The thank you note below is from him.  

Friday, October 19, 2012

This Week

Last Saturday was a busy day down at the Bin.  Linda Mann (along with her daughter's boyfriend!) and Holly Baumann had a busy morning and accomplished so much.  Besides putting away a ton of donated books, they had many other donations to fold and organize. They accomplished an amazing amount in a short time and we thank them.

A few weeks ago Annie Gabbert asked Karen and me if we would meet with her mother/daughter group and talk to them about what TWC does.  They joined us down at the Bin bringing with them loads of fantastic books (at least two boxes full!) that they had outgrown, each one in excellent condition.  After giving them the skinny on all we do and a tour of the Bin, they headed back to Annie's house where they made art boxes for us to leave with each family.  This is such a terrific idea especially as we really like to leave art supplies with each set-up.

It was a hot afternoon but the girls were so attentive and interested in what we do.

Karen giving the girls a tour of the Bin.

Having a look at the river rock wall that
TWC volunteer Liz Dupuy painted.

It was a long day for the girls but look at the result.The finished boxes! 
 They are just perfection!  Every one of them.

The week before last had been filled with uncertainty regarding move-in dates for incoming families.  As soon as volunteers were in place for a Monday, the date was changed to Tuesday and so on.  The upshot of all this was that fortunately a couple of the move-ins were switched to this past week because the prior week was plenty busy enough. The intake process for new families consists of a mountain of paperwork to complete and forms and tax returns to secure and sometimes, given their past living conditions and the state of flux that many have been experiencing for years prior to finally being accepted into these programs, it proves too much.  And then the best-laid plans fall apart.

But, fortunately, this past week's two set-ups went smoothly.  On Wednesday, Monica T. and her three children, Julian, Thomas and Alyssa moved into a small two-bedroom, one bath unit.  Crowded as this was, I know they were happy to finally be able to call someplace, however humble, home.

Once we were called the 'Decorator Ladies' by one of the
moms whose apartment we had set-up.  We took that title seriously and try
to color coordinate whenever possible!
The welcome to your new home card on the table is one
of about 50 cards that sweet Holly Baumann made for us to leave 
with each new family.

We're not supposed to hang anything on the walls but this beautiful
hand-made paper mobile was so light-weight that we used a
thumbtack to secure it to the ceiling.

We don't often have coffee makers donated but we love being
able to leave one with the family. 
We also love sharing cookbooks.

A corner of the living room.

One of the beautiful books that the girls from the mother-daughter group
donated to TWC last Saturday...already shared!

The bathroom, put together so nicely by Linda Mann.

There are no pictures of the boys' bedroom because the bunk beds had not yet been put together.  We arranged everything, including all their bedding, in a decorative basket, but the photo I took (just like the room) wasn't blog-worthy!

With only two bedrooms, the Mom and little girl had to
share a bedroom.  Here's little Alyssa's bed.  
How cute are those tap shoes and that dress!?

Those shoes are so cute they deserved their own picture!
Black bows courtesy of Linda Mann!

I love this patchwork quilt on the Mom's bed.

Joining Karen and me on this set-up were Pat Lester & Linda Mann. Pat brought
fresh flowers from her garden, but I didn't get a me, they were gorgeous!

The second set-up this week was on Thursday for Army vet Shannon J. and her little boy, three-year old Jacob who moved into a two-bedroom unit.  

The Mom's Bedroom.  I loved the final, simple look of it.

The artificial flowers on the Mom's chest were donated by
Peter and Danielle at Canyon Gourmet.

Little Jacob's room.  So sweet and made so warm and appealing
by the darling quilt that Pat Lester made especially for him. 
I love these little bedside rugs that we pick up at Ikea.

Another shot of Jacob's room.

The bathroom nicely done by new volunteer, Barbara Waldman...color coordinated as always.
Barbara had brought some great donations to the Bin the day before, much of
which was used at these two set-ups.

Another color coordinated dining room table! 
This time we went for an autumnal look.

One side of the kitchen looked all put together and tidy

While on the other side, Priscilliano was busy installing the new stove.
  We managed to work well together!

The living room colors were amazing together.  
Karen made the great cushions in the corner and someone
donated this super area rug.  It all worked perfectly.

Mary putting the finishing touches on the lamp. 
Karen fixed the shade, threading ribbon through it and 
the final result was impressive!

And finally, don't forget that this Saturday, 9 -10:30 is our Open Bin.  Your friendly Bin Ladies this Saturday are Liz Dupuy and Holly Baumann.  Thanks ladies!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

As promised, I am going to keep this posting light on words, in part because it has been so busy down at the Bin and at Westwood I hardly know what to say except...lookee what we all did!  Talk about it takes a village!  Four set-ups in three days and some more right around the corner.  I just got an email from Westwood hinting that there may be one this Friday or Monday.  Right now, I am trying not to think about that.

You know how our Bin always looks so tidy and organized...everything in its proper place.
Well, the picture above is one of organization, believe it or not.  
One afternoon, Karen and I pulled for two set-ups that were happening on the same morning and somehow it all worked out...nothing was forgotten and many volunteers made it all possible.
It felt really good to move this stuff along!

On one of the days, we had two set-ups and I believe we filled four cars.  
Here are three of them, almost ready to go.

Friday, October 5
Tiffany, a young mom, and her little boy Kimir have moved into a 2 bedroom/1 bath unit.
Karen, Ildy, Isabel and Holly (who also bought perishables) did a great job.

Ildy found a pillowcase that she had made for her son 20 years ago.
Perfect for little Kimir.

I know Kimir’s mom is going to finally get a good night’s sleep

Canyon Gourmet donated the beautiful flower arrangement on the Mom’s dresser

Loads of age-appropriate toys and stuffed animals, 
board books and so much super clothing for this little guy.

New towels, many supplies

Besides all the non-perishables we always give new families, we are now giving them a head start with perishables, including milk, eggs, bread, fresh fruit, etc.

A welcome to your new home card and one of Susan’s CDs which she donated.

Monday, October 8
Two Set-Ups!
Helping at Both were Linda Bolhuis, Paulette Rapp, Pat Lester (Pat bought perishables for both), 
Barbara Metzenbaum, Karen and Lin

The first set-up was for Leslie and her three sons, David, Alex and Stephen
Three bedrooms/2 baths
Look at all that fruit and a beautiful shopping bag made by Pat for Leslie.

The boys’ bathroom.  You can see evidence of Holly’s magic touch here!

Another shot of the boys bathroom.

The older boy’s bedroom

Older boy’s room

The little boys’ room

Cars for the little guys.

Leslie’s bathroom

Leslie’s bedroom

More toys in the living room

This dining room has Holly’s touch...

Living Room

Monday, October 8
Set-Up for Cameron and Eboni and their little girl Sarai
2 bedrooms/1 bath

 Cups and glasses not only for the grown-ups!

A welcome retreat for the parents.  April found this quilt at Sear’s which she bought with
a gift card donation from Topanga Elementary School.

 Little Sarai’s bed

 Pat Lester and the diaper bag she made!

This photo doesn’t do justice to all the great things that Pat put inside the diaper bag.  
Diapers, wipes, etc etc etc!

And finally, their bathroom.  
I just love the way every set-up
is so different.

Tuesday, October 9
Eric and Latresha and their five children (Eric, Aaron, Sara, Keith & Katelyn) were an emergency move-in on Monday the 8th, so this poor family spent the night 
with no bedding in this 4 bedroom, 2 bath unit.
Helping with this set-up were Karen Saeki, Linda Bolhuis, Julie Rosendo, Karen et moi.
It always difficult to make a place look pretty when the family is half moved in and, understandably, it is always quite chaotic.  I think we managed to create a really lovely space for them.
Unfortunately, I completely forgot to take photos of the the boys’s bedrooms upstairs.

 A welcome note and bowl of fresh fruit

 The downstairs bathroom

The parents’ bedroom.  I think it looks great, but none of it came easy. We were told it was a full-size bed and it was queen-size.  So Karen had to head down Sepulveda to Ross.  The first comforter she picked up was marked QS but while standing in the unbearably long queue she noticed it was a full-size.  Back she went to find the right size.  I will not repeat what she said but having been in the same boat at another set-up, I echoed every word she muttered!

 Bunk beds in the little girls’ room.  How cute is this!

Another corner of the little girls’ room.  Hey Catherine McClenahan...we used those little tiny beanie toys at this set-up!  Can you see them?

And finally, the living room.  I think it looks particularly nice and that red rug is one that we
found at Target for $20!  Keep your eyes open, shoppers.