Friday, January 20, 2012

And the Beat Goes On...

Here's a quick update of what's been going on and a few thoughts we'd like to share.

How about if each month we have a focus on a particular item or two that we're low on?  We'd really like to include simple art supplies in our set-ups.  So this month, how about thinking about buying a box of crayons, a coloring book, a pad of plain paper...that sort of thing.  And we can make sure that each child has the ability to create!

Also, since spring is on the horizon, how about grabbing some artificial flowers or plants.  They make an enormous difference to the rather institutional living rooms in the apartments.  When I was at Michael's yesterday, fake daffodils were on sale and I grabbed five bunches...a dollar for each bunch.

Karen also mentioned that a friend just emailed her to let her know she is coming by the Open Bin this morning with a dozen kitchen towels.  She asked if she could bundle them into packs of three for each set-up.  Definitely a good idea.  Anything you can do to help like that is appreciated.

Here's a reminder as well.  Any donated clothing must be clean and folded and preferably bundled into age appropriate piles.  This saves us an enormous amount of work.  As a yardstick for what we'll take, how about if we wouldn't wear it or we wouldn't put it on our kids, we'll pass on it...send it to the Good Will or Salvation Army.   That applies to just about every donation you or your friends make.  We do not accept items that aren't in pretty great condition.  A lot of times these are things our friends have given us for TWC because they're unsure of just what it is that we do take.  If you could go through these donations first, that would be most appreciated. We're trying to instill in the folks we help a sense of pride in their new homes and hopefully change, in this small way, the pattern of homelessness.

Also, as you all know we've got the Open Bin every Friday morning from 10:30 to Noon.  We've got one card table for sorting clothes, accepting donations, etc., but we find we need another.  If you have a spare card table hanging out in your garage that you never use, we'd love to have it. Karen and Lisa will be there this morning and I'll pop by as well since Toni Colvin told me she has a lot of donations that she'll be hauling over.  Last week Julie Rosendo helped at the Open Bin and was great.  Just a reminder to bring your calendars to the next meeting as we'll have the Open Bin sign-up sheet out.

And here are some photos from our last two set-ups in no particular order since I'm feeling lazy:

Set-up #1:  Destiny London, Paulette Rapp and I were in and out of the apartment in no time.  We were fast.  Problem was it wasn't ready for us when we got there (so we went out to breakfast!).

Set-up #2:  Karen and Janaki handled this one and did a great job.  Because Janaki works full time she hadn't been able to do a Westwood set-up before, so she particularly enjoyed being a part of this.

 Love this one of the little girls' room.  It is so cheerful...and what a difference the rug makes.

 One month we'll have a focus on 'one-size fits-all' robes for the moms.

 Color makes such a difference in the bathroom. I love this combo.

 Ready for a meal.  Matching china and cutlery.  How cool is that!?

 Rugs make a huge difference, but we're running low on magazines, etc.  If you have any that you're finished with (Sunset, People, Natl' Geographic...anything you'd like to share), they are great additions to the coffee table. 

 It's Diego all the way for this little boy!

 Including this book!

 Love the little notes that go with the Cuties!  Thank you Topanga Fourth Graders!

A welcoming bed for a weary Mom.

And finally, Topanga Women's Circle has been honored by the Chamber of Commerce!  Check out the link below and if you can make this awards ceremony and sit at our head table, we'd love it! 

And here's a story about a homeless teen (family has now been housed) that's particularly heartwarming:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

January 6, 2012 Set-Up: First Set-up of the New Year

Karen got the call from Lissette that Tiffany and her two children, Dior and Darrien had successfully completed all the complex stages of the intake process and would be moving in on January 6th.  Karen and Mary Morley had spent almost a full day organizing the Bin earlier in the week and on Thursday Mary came down and helped me pull the items for Friday's set-up.  Mary knows what's in that Bin so she was the perfect person to help me pull!

After putting out the call for help Linda Handler, Karen Saeki and twins April and Ashley Hinkle said they were all free and since it was such a small one and we have an upcoming two set-ups in a few days (final confirmation not yet given but hopefully on Wednesday January 11 and Thursday January 12), I asked new member Karen Saeki if she could help with one of those instead and hopefully she'll be available. Linda H. is a kindergarten teacher at Topanga Elementary and she was off school last week and April and Ashley still had some free time before their classes resumed and these three dynamos joined me and had the place looking spiffy in no time!  We were finished with the two- bedroom unit  by 11:30 or so and wandered over to Bessie Pregerson CDC to drop off some wonderful warm little hoodies and jackets that have been donated recently.  All of the families at Bessie Pregerson are on some form of assistance and while most parents work full time, there is little to spare.  Program director Sandra Menendez and her second in command, Miss Marloe, assured me that these jackets will be much appreciated by these needy families.  While there, Linda, April and Ashley had a quick tour of the facility...we would have stayed longer but the children were being settled for their afternoon naps.  We almost had to pull Linda out the door.  She LOVES the little ones and they love her!  

Here are some photos from our day (remember, to enlarge the photo, just click on it).  I'm sure many of you will see some of your donations in these pictures. An added bonus to the set-up was that all were able to meet Tiffany, the mom who was moving in that day.  She was a delightful young woman and couldn't wait to settle in, finally, to a comfortable home.  

Linda Handler has her work cut out.  She chose the kitchen and 
as you'll see from the pictures below, did a terrific job.
The kitchen, already looking like the heart of the home.

And here's a shot of the stove, ready for making a big pot of spaghetti!

 Cook books at the ready and a darling little chef's clock.
A welcoming family table with citrus from one of the twin's trees!

Tiffany's bedroom.  I hope this young mom is finally able to find 
some peace in her new home.  Her bed looks comfy!

Never let it be said that we shy away from color!

April and Ashley, starting on the children's room!  Early stages.  
See pictures below for the great end result.

This is Dior's bed.  Fresh new bed linens, darling stuffed animals and dolls and a 
Cutie from a Fourth Grader at Topanga Elementary School. I think she'll love it!

Here is little Darrien's bed.  The children share a room and it looks cozy and welcoming.  
Lots of age-appropriate books and toys and he's got a Cutie, too!

The children's room.  
Comfortable, welcoming and at long last, a room to call their own.

I'd like to encourage any of you who haven't been involved in a set-up to consider 
joining us one day.  They really are fun and give you a hand's on understanding of 
just what it is that TWC does.

If you have a couple of spare dollars and can grab any of these things when you're at the 
grocery store, or have any of them in your home and they're in excellent condition, 
here's a brief run-down on what we currently need.  
Remember, everything on this list is needed on an ongoing basis.  
With 50 set-ups last year and 40+ the year before, we run out of items quickly and with regularity!
Here's the list of current needs:
Baggies, plastic wrap, foil, laundry detergent, dish detergent, sponges, plastic storage containers, napkins, drinking glasses, brooms, dust pans, blankets (remember to regularly check the end caps for amazing deals and this month there are some great white sales). We're out of table cloths (especially for small dining tables) so  check your home supply, cloth napkins, oven pads and mitts, kitchen and bathroom and small area rugs. Because of the amazing donation from the kids at the school in Watts, our canned food supply is in good shape right now, though we do need cereal that children like (cheerios, etc) and jars of instant coffee.

Happy New Year to all of you and thank you for making 2011 such a terrific year for the Topanga Women's Circle.