Wednesday, June 15, 2016

And Another Year...

Somehow, even though my children are grown and grandchildren are headed that way too, June always signals the end of another year to me.  Sure, December 31 holds some meaning as well, but there is something about the end of a school year that gives me that slightly heady feeling that it's vacation time!  And so each year, in early June, we gather at Rocco's for our annual volunteer thank you dinner. While we chat about accomplishments and goals for the year ahead, we also just kick back and enjoy one another's company in a familiar Canyon setting. Two TWC angels, who prefer to remain anonymous, refused to let TWC pay for this event and quietly went and settled the tab. We are so lucky to have so many remarkably generous volunteers who never fail to impress me with their kind and open spirits. Next year, we hope to have the dinner a little before the end of the school year to avoid graduation parties and vacation conflicts.

We did manage to discuss a few things at the party and here's a brief run-down
  • Mother's Day was another huge success and we will continue with this tradition again next year! Noelle Berman prints the beautiful vellum inserts for us and we are so appreciative. Our booth at the Farmer's Market was successful and led to a discussion of...
  • First Friday's. This is an idea the Topanga Farmer's Mkt is considering where local crafts people, artists and charities could set up a booth. One idea for TWC is to make all occasion cards, birthday, sympathy, congratulations, new baby, etc and sell them for $5 each. Maybe Noelle could print these inserts for us too!
  • Thanks to Courtney Karp, who though a new Canyon resident has joined our merry band, hosting the annual Christmas non-perishable food drive that Patty Colvig started a few years back(Lower Encina) and working the booth at the Farmer's Mkt. 
  • Elaine Hanson deserves a big thanks, too, for printing the fliers!
  • Karla Morrison continues to make strides towards improving TWC's visibility with Sheila Kuehl's office.
  • Thanks to Rebecca Franco for making the new welcome cards for each family. We love leaving them with a little note and a $25 Target gift card. Our gift cards will soon be gone, so if ever you have friends who want to know how they can help, suggest a $25 Target gift card!
  • In early September we will have to make the decision as to whether or not we renew our space at the storage facility in T.O. or can anyone think of a safe, secure, clean and dry Canyon space we could use for free? Catherine McClenahan offered her property as a location for a storage container. We will need to crunch some numbers as to the cost of a container, delivery, leveling, etc as opposed to a year's storage facility rental (which runs around $4,500).
  • A set builder friend made a generous donation to TWC (from a set that was being broken down) of towels, lamps, throw pillows, etc and suggested the studios might be a good source of donations for us.
  • Nancy reported that the Bin Committee was going strong and doing a great job with inventory, bundling and organizing.
  • Patty continues to manage the Non-Perishables group and is finding that purchasing Visa cards with TWC funds for NP purchases is working out well.
  • A reminder to the Perishable Committee that you are free to spend as much as you want for set-ups but if you want reimbursement, TWC can only spend a maximum of $50 per set-up. The generosity of the folks in this committee (Bonnie Graces, Andrea Palella, Wendy Skolfield, Debra Silbar, Sue Forbes, Randi Gottlieb...and I know I'm forgetting someone!) is amazing.
  • Karen introduced Judy Richards to us all and she talked about her fascinating group, Granny Squared, a community-based project that has collected thousands of crocheted squares which she has made available to TWC for stitching together to create colorful and warm bed covers for our intake families. Isabel Freeman would like to help Judy with this and Deborah Ackrich offered that her girls might be interested in helping as well.
  • When responding to emails sent to the whole charity, please do not hit reply all and also please try and avoid bringing anything extra to the set-ups without first checking with Teresa or me.
  • And finally, we're hoping the number of set-ups will slow down for a bit after our extraordinarily busy spring.
And now some photos from the last few months! For those of you who haven't taken part in a set-up before, each apartment that we turn into a home for a new family is a blank slate.  Each is different, depending upon what donations we've received, the make-up of the new family, number of bedrooms, etc.  But one thing remains the same...they always look warm and welcoming. These photos should give you an idea!

We load our cars and head down the mountain!

A blank slate.  Institutional, not too homey...we're ready to change that!
Arrival...lots to unpack, boxes to break down and loads of willing hands to help.

Parent's Bedroom.  This must feel so good after being in a shelter.
And another parents' bedroom...showing just how different they can be

A little guy's room.

We always try and include books for the children, as well as age-appropriate toys

More books, toys and artwork!

I love the way each table is set differently and how we always leave that
welcome card and gift certificate for each family.

Another beautifully set table.
And another!

A full fridge from a v. generous volunteer.

Bright colored living room rug and throw pillows is so welcoming.

Bright green for this apartment!

Pat Lester made this little doll carrier AND
the doll clothes. She is TWC's master crafter and
seamstress making everything from doll clothes to potholders!

All finished!  It was a big apartment and we needed every one of these volunteers.
Junior volunteer, Lizzie Scott (with mum, Cynthia) is a
great addition to our team!