Saturday, February 15, 2014

Meeting #1, 2014

We had a terrific meeting at Teresa’s house and for those of you unable to attend, here is a recap of what we managed to talk about (in between eating some rather terrific food).  Also, because I have been rather blog-negligent of late, take some time to scroll through some representative pictures of some of  the fabulous set-ups that we have managed to do since mid-December…and there have been quite a few.

Thank yous: Many thanks go out to all of you who participated in our Xmas gift and gift wrapping drive for the children at Venice Community Housing’s Transitional Living Center.  It truly was a memorable event this year, made easier by Jill Palethorpe’s creation of an online sign-up form.  The children loved their gifts (just got some lovely thank you notes after our set-up in Venice on Friday) and their mothers felt a great sense of happiness and relief knowing they were going to have a happy Christmas. 

Thanks go out also to Patty Colvig and Deb Demontreaux for their successful neighborhood and Topanga Elementary non-perishable food drive.  Because of this, we have an amazing food store and it is foods our families really like. 

Also, an enormous shout out to PSI, a group near and dear to Teresa’s heart. Teresa, Julie Leaf and Liz Granite made sure that gifts for every child at the Bessie Pregerson Child Development Center (the CDC) were purchased, wrapped and delivered in time for Christmas and TWC was happy to contribute to this worthy effort.  They have done this now for three years and it is an amazing contribution.

Thank you to all of you who have tireless volunteered at set-ups and with purchasing perishable foods for all these new families.  It means an enormous amount to every one of them to move into their new home and have their immediate needs taken care of.  Your generosity and kind spirits impress us daily.  And for those of you who have not taken part in a set-up, we are going to try and organize some on Saturdays and also in the afternoons, which often work better for folks.  Please consider helping more, though, because all too frequently we see the same folks on the front lines (rant over).

Linda Handler’s kindergarten class did another non-perishable food drive for TWC:  First 100 Days of School/100 Cans of Food.  They met their goal.  Thank you, Linda!

And finally, thank you to Teresa’s Mom.  When she asked Teresa what she would like for her [special] birthday, Teresa replied that a check to TWC would suit her just fine.  And that’s what her Mom did.  Great idea, huh?

Mothers Day: We really need to focus now on Mother’s Day so please continue to look for great photos that can be used in our card construction. Julie Rosendo’s mother/child photos from around the world were big sellers last year. Another idea you might want to consider is Patty Colvig’s clever use of photos of family and friends’ children.  She bought the blank cards/with vellum inserts from us and mounted these very personal photographs as Mother’s Day gifts.  Clever, huh?

We will have a booth again at the Topanga Farmer’s Mkt (and will need volunteers to handle this) and advertise in The Messenger. It was also suggested that we canvas the Farmer’s Markets in the Palisades, Malibu and Calabasas to see what having a booth entails/costs.  Teresa said she would check into this for us.  Could this also be a nice opportunity to sell, for example, Azmina’s beautiful scarves?  Start putting your lists together of family and friends you would like to send a card to or who you think might want to purchase some. Thus far, this is our biggest annual fundraiser.

And segueing into fundraising ideas, we just cannot let go of the idea of a fabulous night of music in a beautiful setting.  We have a lot of talent belonging to TWC directly and indirectly (through marriage!).  Catherine McClenahan, Ken Bank (Lorna’s husband who has a fabulous Doo Wop group), Colin Hay (Patty Colvig to check on him). Jill Palethorpe has offered her beautiful hacienda and facility in Malibu (for free!) but it would obviously have to be organized well in advance and other suggestions have been made for venues here in Topanga.  A special committee is going to be organized to investigate all angles of this and we are looking for volunteers!  Please put together a list of people to invite.  I think if each of us has a book of tickets which we endeavor to sell, we will quickly meet our goal. Silent auction? Start thinking of who we can canvas for donations. Please contact Karen or me if you can help us with this.  This will take some considerable effort.

Our website is in the process of being updated…this is something our Advisory Board is working on right now.  We have lots of new members to add to our membership list and other folks who have dropped by the wayside.  In addition, we need to update other information and include ways that folks can help besides monetarily.  We will list items on the website that can be donated and  of which we are always running short.

And our blog…what about taking pictures of items that have been donated and are for sale?  Ildy’s Mom’s aprons that are vintage 50s and 60s…some of Azmina’s great things? Don’t forget we have those fabulous Bar & Bat Mitzvah cards that Jill Palethorpe designed for us.  Who can contact area synagogues/chabads  to see if there is any interest in purchasing a bundle? These cards were April Hinkle’s idea (and boy do we already miss her…she has moved to New York for a new adventure).

Patricia Mitchell has now finished up her two-year volunteer stint at Westwood, working on personal development with some of the residents.  She is now ready to spend a little more time directly with TWC in set-ups and updating our DVD.  It will all start with a story board and she is keen to get moving on this.  Yay!

We chatted about not hitting Reply All in emails unless it directly affects all volunteers.  I know we inundate your email boxes and that at times there must be some temptation to just delete so to reduce that chance, we will try and be more concise! 

What we need:

Sewing kit supplies.  Linda Handler is working on a spools of thread drive at Topanga Elementary but we also need buttons, thread, scissors, measuring tape, etc.  This is an original idea of Patty Colvig’s and Karen has worked tirelessly on this, creating the most darling pincushions for each kit. Honestly, I think she could make more of these and sell them on our website…they are that fab.

We are always looking for new volunteers.  Talk us up to your friends!

We are still in need of spoons and knives to complete our cutlery sets. 

Gently used (which means CLEAN/no stains and in really good shape) towels, bath rugs, hand towels, sheet sets, blankets and comforters/duvets (twin and QS).

We will put together a list of items which are in constant need and the best places and price ranges that are good.  We find that by shopping at the end caps (sales) at Target, Ross, CVS, Kohl’s, Big Lots etc. we can find some great deals. Remember, if you find sheets/towels/bedding on sale and a great price, buy it (several or 10!) and we will reimburse you any funds you are out of pocket.

We no longer accept adult/teen clothing due to space limitations.  However, Andrea Palella suggested that when we have a set-up and know the sizes of moms/teens, we mention it in the request for help email that is sent out.  That way, if folks have clothing in those sizes (that is in great condition), they can bring it to us for that particular family.

Thanks to all who volunteer as Bin Goddesses on Saturday mornings.  You are the best.  While Karen is visiting her Mom in Indiana, she is going to work on a map of the Bin to help those a little unfamiliar with the layout.

Thank you Janaki for taking such terrific meeting notes and…

Thank you Teresa for hosting a wonderful meeting and making us all feel so comfortable even though you had a guest checking in that night and a houseful coming the next day.  You are the best. And thank you, Bruce, for being a great parking valet/coordinator.

And a small sampling of photos from the last couple of months. 

Some set-ups just come together.  Love the Natl. Geographics on the table.  These are wonderful coffee table books for the families.I love these art boxes and I am sure the kids who receive them feel the same
Art Boxes are such a wonderful addition to each set up.

Teen girls bedroom.  Nail polishes are always a hit.  (Thanks for these April!)

A welcome relief for the parents after living in a shelter for some time.

Fresh towels, rug and shower curtain.  And their own private bathroom.

French Coffee Press ready for the next morning

A small rug makes such a difference in the living room

Tea anyone?

Cookie jar and some great cookbooks

Besides the non-perishables foods, we like to provide perishables.  Being able to move in and not have to go to the grocery store immediately is such a help to these weary families.

And the cupboards are filled with non-perishables, too.

Ready for Mom

A beautiful crib provided by Baby2Baby...filled with things
for the new baby.

How many boys can you get in one room?  In this case...3!

Wrapping presents for kids at the
Transitional Living Center in Venice

Gift bags filled and ready for delivery to Venice.

A little girls room

Happy Valentines Day!

Mom and teen daughter are sharing a bedroom.
Tight quarters for needy families at the TLC in Venice

A mom and her 18-month old son will love their new things.

Ready to be loved by a little boy who is moving in.

Ready for cooking up a batch of spaghetti bolognese 

An added festive touch at the holidays

How sweet is this?

We have never had a problem with color!

This table is ready for the family. So welcoming

And a little more for the holidays.