Saturday, July 12, 2014

July 9 Meeting Recap and Catch-up Photos

We had a terrific meeting Wednesday night at the Carlson's lovely home.  Leslie never fails to make us all feel so comfortable and the setting is just perfect for a large gathering.  Thank you so much, once again, for hosting a great evening, Leslie.  And because every photo I took this year was terrible, here are a couple from our last gathering of the Ladies of the Canyon chez Carlson!

The primary focus of this meeting was to discuss the formation of committees which should make life easier for all.  This is a suggestion of the Advisory Board and one which Karen and I quickly embraced as the number of families we served has quadrupled from the early days and the corresponding workload has almost hobbled us at times!

These new committees are still a work in progress and we might change the focus and direction based on your comments and after we get a better feel for how they are working out.  Each committee is highlighted and incudes  those volunteers who signed up.  For those of you unable to make the meeting, please send the committee head a note if you want to be included in a particular committee and don't forget, you can be on more than one committee.  Each group will be simply explained below and if you have more questions, please contact the committee chairs directly.  We will create a document  for each which will have all volunteers' contact information, including email address and phone numbers. Below is our first stab at committee creation.

The intention of the committee's/chair of committee is not that these ladies are the only ones doing this particular activity, anyone can jump in and help wherever, but these are the folks who will be most active on that committee and be part of organizing, taking charge when the chair is not available, etc…..volunteers can offer to do any of the activities of the committees at any time.  For example, I will still be sending out requests for help at set-ups to all of you great volunteers and Nancy will continue to send out Bin request emails. 

Bin Goddess Committee:  Chair, Nancy Hanson
Goddesses: Randi Gottlieb, Rebecca Franco, Linda Mann, Deborah Kashinsky, Teresai Rosati-Royer
Nancy will be putting together the calendar.  Please, please, please help us with this.  We need to have a volunteer base for our Goddesses to contact. This is a very small time commitment, Saturday morning from 9 to 10:30, perhaps a few times a year.   It is the responsibility of those who have signed up to help at the Bin to find a substitute if they are unable to honor their time commitment.  In order to make this easier, all volunteers on this committee will have one another's contact information...but remember, you do NOT have to be on this committee or any other committee to volunteer to help. In the event that there is a volunteer shortfall on a particular Saturday, the Bin may be closed.  You will be notified if this is the case and it is my wish that more people consider signing up for this. This is an excellent opportunity to bring more visibility to TWC within the community...and it is only an hour and a half. 

Non-Perishables Committee:  Chairs, Patty Colvig & Catherine Grasso
Volunteers:  Geraldine Flaxman, Pat Rice, Debra Skelton & Deborah Ackrich
Patty and Catherine will be putting some guidelines together for this committee which will include shopping lists, etc.  Remember, all of TWC can help with this but this committee will be in charge of contacting members, etc. Remember:  reimbursements only with receipts!

Shopping Committee:  Chair, Teresa Rosati-Royer
Volunteers: Liz Dupuy, Catherine McClenahan, Janaki Welch
Teresa will be contacted and kept up to date on shortfalls as they occur and Karen will be keeping tight control on inventory.  TWC funds will be used for these purchases unless a TWC volunteer cares to make a donation.  Liz Dupuy has already done a big shop for us (pillows, mattress pads, etc) which we are still working our way through. Remember: reimbursements only with receipts!

Perishables Committee:  No chair as yet, but Becca Barkin and Andrea Palella have had some great suggestions and will no doubt help guide this committee in a good direction.
Volunteers:  Randi Gottlieb, Bonnie Graves, Becca Barkin, Sue Forbes, Andrea Palella.
Historically, those who have purchased perishables for set-ups have done so as a straight donation.  This would always be our first preference but some of you are such frequent contributors that your pocketbooks have to be taking a hit!  If you submit your receipts for all grocery purchases, you will be reimbursed up to $30 if you so request. A suggested list will be created but once you have bought the basics, any extras are up to you! Remember: reimbursements only with receipts.

Pulling for Set-ups:  Committee Chair, Karen Sherwood
Volunteers:  Mary Morley, Rebecca Franco, Linda Mann, Isabel Freeman, Nancy Hanson, Linda Ilsley
This is pretty self-explanatory, but each set-up requires an advance pull so the items are ready to just load in the cars on set-up day.  Once we get notification that a family is moving in, Karen will send out an email requesting one helper to gather and pull the family-specific donations.

Set-Up Committee:  Chair, Linda Ilsley
Volunteers:  Randi Gottlieb, Patricia Mitchell, Lorna Bank, Connie Zweig, Catherine McClenahan, Mary Morley.
Key volunteers on this Committee must be prepared to lead a set-up on their own.  That includes email correspondence to rustle up volunteers, etc and being the lead person on a set-up.  Linda is happy to do it but she is gone a couple of months each year (one month in spring and again in autumn) visiting her mother in England.

Here is a little recap of the meeting plus scroll on through to the end to see a few photos from recent set-ups.

We were happy to welcome a few newer members to their first meeting, some of whom have already been active in helping with set-ups and donations.  Welcome Deborah Ackrich, Bonnie Graves and Pat Rice.  Remember, if you are talking about TWC to any of your friends and they express an interest in learning more about our merry band, invite them to our next meeting (no obligation to join) and if they are interested in becoming involved we will add their name to our list.

We shared with the group that we raised close to Four Thousand Dollars from our Mother's Day Card Fundraiser, a figure that is a little shy of last year.  I know we can do better and to help make it an activity that has more involvement by our volunteer base, we will be forming a committee shortly after Christmas.  More info on our new committees will be found a little further down!

Our website is still a work in progress but we are happy that Advisory Board member, Janaki Welch, will be liasing with Joanna Gunst once we have all changes and additions in place.

Nancy Hanson is creating a short and to the point sign for the Bin that states we only accept new and VERY gently used and clean items.  Never leave anything at the Bin because it will be thrown away.  Last Saturday we were left a pile of rubbish…as a donation.  I know the donor's hearts are in the right place, but we are not a dumping site.  It is imperative that we keep the area around the Bin tidy at all times and we do not want to negatively impact any of the businesses.  So if friends mention they have something for TWC, remind them of when the Bin is open (Saturday mornings, 9 to 10:30 unless it is pouring rain or a holiday weekend) and if they are unable to come at that time, they can schedule an alternative time with one of us.

Karen put together a great shopping source list with the stores she has found to have great value plus average price range.  We will create a PDF and make sure you all have copies. It is a terrific resource and helps give you a good price guideline.  Of course you can shop anywhere when it comes to a straight donation, but when it comes to using TWC funds, we go for best value for our dollar. Karen and I have taken to online ordering, as well.  Feel free to do so, if the price is right, and you can arrange to have it delivered to yourself, Karen or me. If you are not sure if it is a bargain or not, you can contact Teresa Rosati-Royer, Karen or me and ask.  We are pretty good at knowing the best prices in town! Be sure to save ALL receipts. In order to be reimbursed and to keep all accounting in order for Community Partners, those receipts are necessary.

The Big Bring for this meeting was laundry baskets and/or detergent and WHOA…you all blew us away with your donations.  Karen and I put everything away today and your generosity just amazes us.  Thank you. We had to do a little rearranging to accommodate all the detergent and baskets!  Next meeting's bring might be items for our sewing kits (a great addition to every set-up) plus something else (to be determined).

By separate email attachment you will receive a list of all volunteers and email addresses.  Please respect that this list is only to be used for TWC matters and may not be shared with anyone else without first obtaining permission.

Many thanks, as always, to Kelly Brumfield Woods at the Topanga Farmer's Market for her continued support of TWC.

Here are a couple of before and after pictures that should make you smile!

Here are a couple of before and after pictures that should make you smile!  Paulette's good friend, Marlo, has made some lovely donations to TWC, one of which is this doll.  Unfortunately, this beauty had been through some hard times (it's never easy when your mother is a child!) and needed some new hair so Karen and her neighbor, Elsie Stenson, got to work. Elsie has helped before on some doll rehab projects and she is one talented lady.  I am now referring to this doll as Dolly...she has kind of a Southern vibe to me with that big hair...why I just expect her to break into song any minute.  Is she not gorgeous now?!


A few shots from recent set-ups.

One of the many beautiful decorative pillows made by Linda Lynch

Big thanks to Charlie Hanson, Nancy Hansons husband for keeping TWC in mind.  One of his clients has donated many of these lovely robes...a nice addition to each set-up.

 Can you spot one of the art/craft boxes made by the Malibu Brownies?

 Mary just finished this bathroom set-up

 Bonnie Graves...first set-up under her belt!
Paula, Paulette and Becca (post set-up) reading some thank you notes 
from happy families we had helped.

 There are never too many colors in a room!

 Ready for dinner

 How generous are our volunteers???

 Ready for Mom & Dad.  A home...finally.

Only a one-bedroom apartment so we put this darling baby lamp on the dining room table!

 Oh Canada!

All photos below taken by our official smiling photographer, Toby Chapman,
who also ably assisted on this set-up with his two sisters (who somehow
did not have their picture taken!) and their mom, Claire.

Almost done