Sunday, February 28, 2016

February Meeting at Tuscali & Annual Mother's Day Fundraiser

HARMONY HELPS!  Who would like a FREE ticket/s to what promises to be a fabulous evening at Royce Hall this coming Thursday, March 3?  Only expense is $12 for parking. Please contact me or Karen ( for ticket information. This benefits Westwood Transitional Village…a cause near and dear to all of us. So, if you love listening to a great symphony playing some fabulous show tunes and classics, an emerging young diva singing a couple of arias, a fabulous young singer belting out the classics and Carol Lawrence, Ed Asner and Fritz Coleman leading the way, let us know ASAP! 
Tickets will be waiting for you at will call at Royce Hall.

Tuesday night at Teresa’s lovely Tuscali Mountain Inn was a beautiful evening and here are the pictures to prove it! Many thanks to all of you who were able to join us and hopefully this posting will update those of you who were unable to come. We chatted aout a lot, including our annual Mother's Day card drive (such an integral part of our annual fundraising), committee updates, Harmony Helps Fundraiser and, of course, Karen's big news. 

Loads of wonderful donations!
Delicious food, as always

Fellow Tango(ers) Andrea and Lorna

Karla and Debra

Talk, talk, talk...

Lots to talk about

Wendy & Ruth!


A big thank you goes out to the kindergartners at Topanga Elementary in TWC volunteer, Linda Handler’s class, who collected 100 cans of food for their first 100 days of school.  Linda has done this for a few years now and it is always a success!

Thank you to Bonnie Graves’ two little ones who joined in their annual neighborhood  rummage sale by having a coffee/hot chocolate/doughnuts sale where they raised over $70 for TWC.  They are putting the monies towards perishable foods for the set-ups.  Love this.

Thank you to little Charlotte, a frequent presence with mom, Amy, at our set-ups.  Not only does Charlotte help with creating cozy homes for our move-ins, but she had a toy/stuffed animal drive with some of her home-schooler friends in a special class they attend and she’s going to do it again…this time asking specifically for art supplies and stuffed toys. 

And thank you to Cynthia Scott and her daughter Lizzie for joining Nancy’s Open Bin group. Teens love sleeping in on Saturday mornings, so we super appreciate Lizzie's presence at the Bin!

Special request:  We have not had art boxes for incoming families for some time now. If you have children who are in a group (Brownies, Girl Scouts, Mother-Daughter groups or a service club at school) this is a great way to contribute to TWC.  Deborah Ackrich had her Brownie troop make some great art boxes a couple of years ago and I know Lizzie Scott made some, too, as well as Annie Gabbert’s mother-daughter group.  Art boxes are simple and fun to make:  grab a sturdy shoe box, decorate it on the outside and fill it with arts and crafts supplies. We love leaving one for each family who have gone through so much. What a terrific way for these kids to express themselves.

TWC is always happy to welcome new volunteers and last week Karen and I met with Holly & Sophie Hanson of Harmony Financial Strategies who relocated from Santa Monica to offices above Topanga Table…they’re also Canyon residents and would like to become further involved with our group.  They’d hoped to join us on Tuesday but got caught up at another meeting. It was great to see Ruth Lundi at the meeting, too, and I know her energy and enthusiasm will be a great addition to the group.  Debra Silbar was also at her first meeting, fresh off a set-up where she generously also provided the perishables for the move-in family.  We have other new volunteers who have signed up and hopefully they will join us for future meetings and endeavors.

TWC has enjoyed a wonderful association with the Canyon Sages who have supported us in the past with non-perishable food drives, but now they are doing something extra special to benefit the children we serve.  Every other week a group of dedicated gals meets at the Library for a sewing circle where they make wonderful stuffed animals  to include at each set-up.  They really are very special and Karla brought a bag full of some teddies she has recently finished and they are absolutely darling.
Lee Kelly & Rebecca Andrews in action

How great are these snakes!

Karla's Kids! Sages offerings!!!

And now onto Mother’s Day, always a big event for TWC and becoming one that lots of folks in the Canyon recognize.  Debra Skelton was unable to come to the meeting, but has volunteered to write an article for the Messenger so we can get the word out in a timely manner about this very important, annual fundraiser.  Remember, if you or your friends would like to use some of your photos on the cards (as Patty Colvig does every year), we can provide the card stock with beautiful vellum insert and you can personalize them even more.  In a few weeks I’ll create a new blog posting with images that we use for Mother’s Day cards and include other photos you would like included. Please submit them to us pretty soon for consideration and I’ll send you all a link to that blog posting with many of the choices for MD cards. If you are selling cards to friends (and we really encourage you to offer these cards for sale besides sending cards of your own) this page will be available to everyone so they can choose their order. Some folks have requested fewer flower pictures and more animals/nature/ocean/Canyon shots so if you have some particularly super ones and are willing to share, scoot them our way! These cards are frequently sent to friends and family honoring them as a mom or to friends in memory of their mom. And for those still lucky enough to have their mother, you know that most of them don’t want any more stuff…so these cards are perfect! Cost is still $25.

Important Dates for Mother’s Day (May 8)

Early April:  Card stock and vellum inserts ready for folks who want to use their own photos.

Sat, April 16:  Gather to make cards/bring your own photos if you want to use them

Fridays, April 22 & 29 & May 6:  Topanga Farmer’s Mkt (volunteers?)

Cards will also be available for sale at our open Bin on Saturday mornings, 9 to 10:30

About a month ago a good friend of mine, Elaine Arama, lost her mother, Ruth Halloran, aged 101.  I was lucky to have met Ruth when she was around 98 and what a dynamic, intelligent, curious lady she was.  She wanted to know more about TWC and already knew a little about us because Elaine has sent her a TWC MD card for years.  I shared our website with her while she sipped her cup of tea and she was just so impressed with what we do. I never saw her again, but was kept up to date with stories of her robust good health and intellect via her daughter. There was a wonderful obituary about Ruth in the Boston Globe…a big one…for she had a long and varied life, filled with volunteerism, teaching and family.  At the end of the article, I was so surprised to read that donations in Ruth’s memory could be made to two organizations dear to her heart:  The Framingham Heart Study and Topanga Women’s Circle.  I was beyond touched and honored by this and only wish I could thank her in person.

Committee Updates 

Please contact me or Teresa ( if you would like to be included on any of these committees. 

Andrea Palella gave a run-down on how this committee is working and it has been decided it will be a back-up committee. First option for providing perishables to a move-in family will go to anyone who volunteers and if no one is available, the perishable committee will provide them. 
New committee members:  Debra Silbar & Ruth Lundi

Patty Colvig gave us an update on perishables, including Visa cash cards for those times when volunteers go out to replenish our dwindling stock. All receipts must be kept for accounting purposes.  Patty has seen to the management of this committee for some time now and includes a non-perishable drive at Christmas time in her Entrada neighborhood and is now spearheading a drive each year at Topanga Elementary.
New volunteer:  Pat Rice

Bin Committee
Nancy has been pleased with the volunteers stepping up to help and Karen keeps our Bin in great organizational order.
New Volunteers:  Janaki Welch and Heather Tehrani

Shopping Comimttee
Teresa is happy that she has a couple of new volunteers helping her on this one.  Karen determines the shortfall and sends the list to Teresa. Donations always welcome, but Linda will reimburse folks for any expenses.
New Volunteers: Andrea Palella and Heather Tehrani

Fundraising Committee
Rather than being responsible for actually organizing a fundraiser, this committee is for ideas people who are willing to meet and just hash out ideas for potential fundraisers. Creative folks, please consider joining up.
Volunteers:  Wendy Skolfield and Ruth Lundi

Mother’s Day Table at Topanga Farmer’s Market
Come on ladies…this is SO MUCH FUN!  You get to chatter to potential new volunteers and community friends and sell our beautiful Mother’s Day cards.  We have the table and our great sandwich board (made by Foster Sherwood!) and it really is fun.
Volunteers: Linda Bolhuis, Debra Silbar, Linda Ilsley

Grant Writing
I’m not surprised (because who wants to write a grant proposal!!?) but no one signed up for this one.  I have some templates for grants written in the past and am happy to help on this one but we also need folks who are willing to research grant opportunities for us.

These two photos are special because we don't often get to see the folks for whom we create these welcoming homes but Margarita shared a couple of photos of new families (permission granted to post).

And finally, Karen has decided to step down from her co-chairmanship of Topanga Women's Circle.  Eight years of dedication on her part is not coming to an end though...she will still be on our Advisory Board and keeping a close watch on the Bin (!) but with a mom in failing health some distance away and other activities she would like to pursue, she has decided to step back.  Teresa Rosati-Royer will be joining me at the help and I couldn't be more delighted that she decided to accept this role.