Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Back to School/End of Summer Meeting: 9/26/17

Mea Culpa! This poor, languishing blog is in dire need of an update, especially when there's so much going on in the world of Topanga Women's Circle. We have been busy launching our 2017 Challenge Grant Campaign (more on that below), our annual back to business/school/end of summer meeting (more on that below) and with multiple set-ups (details below on the most recent). So instead of waffling on about our fabulous volunteers (all true), some insane summer heat, and the minutae of daily life with TWC, let's talk about the major events.

Topanga Women's Circle 2017 Challenge Grant

Debra Silbar and Karla Morrison introduced the campaign at our last meeting and we are so lucky that it was announced with such a generous donation from Elaine Hanson, Realtor at Partners Trust and Doug Hanson Construction. Jumping right in to join the campaign with wonderfully generous contributions were Debra & Adam Silbar, Steve & Leslie Carlson, Karen Sherwood, Wendy Skolfield  and Holly & Sophie Hanson. Friends and relatives of TWC volunteers are quickly jumping in to help, realizing the challenges we face on a daily basis.

Just what is a challenge grant? It means that for every dollar you donate, our generous donors who have kick-started the challenge will match it, up to $16,000! Your donation will essentially be doubled and is guaranteed to improve the lives of our Veterans and other homeless families.

In Los Angeles County alone, homelessness has jumped 23% in the last year. Many are Veterans and families, including over 63,000 children, who are living on the streets, in shelters or in their cars. Working with two agencies, Westwood Transitional Village and Venice Community Housing, we help the neediest of families by furnishing these bare-boned, institutionally furnished apartments with the necessities we all take for granted like fresh new sheets, pillows, towels, personal care items, toys and books and a fully stocked kitchen with new pots and pans, dishes and cutlery and food in the pantry and the fridge.

We are busier than ever now that transitional housing (accommodation for up to two years) has now become bridge housing (3-6 months for families and up to two years for Vets) and what this means is we are going through our funds at a rate never seen before. We are asking for financial help from our volunteers, friends and family. Please click on our Challenge Grant link and help us in any way that you can (https://twc.networkforgood.com/projects/35727-topanga-women-s-circle-2017-challenge-grant).  Thank you.

Back to School/Business/End of Summer Annual Meeting at the Carlson's

The turn-out for this annual meeting was higher than ever and we are so appreciative that Steve and Leslie have opened their beautiful home, year after year, for this traditionally large gathering. This year we were happy to see so many of you in addition to so many new volunteers, many of whom have been so generous to TWC already with donations and time. This is always a great opportunity to catch up with one another, to share ideas for future growth, eat great food, drink great wine (thank you Bonnie Graves!!!) and for catching up on all that TWC has been up to in the past year.

The infusion of new energy and your enthusiasm has set a fire under all of us and your contributions are vital to the continued success of this little charity.

Teresa and I appreciate the incredible contributions all that our volunteers make. Some of you work full time, some of you have young families and while all of us are busy, you continue to give when you can. We believe that every volunteer, no matter how much or how little then can do, is a vital cog in the continued success of our group and we thank you all. There are times when we don't hear from you for a while and that's okay...life is like that.,,for all of us. Thank you to our incredible Advisory Board whose energy and wisdom guide us in such a positive way. Lorna Bank, Nancy Hanson, Debra Silbar, Karla Morrison, Janaki Welch and our past co-chair, Karen Sherwood...you ladies are amazing! And, as always, gratitude to our founder, Arlette Parker, whose wisdom and vision created our charity.

Just a reminder that aside from our annual Mother's Day fundraiser with our lovely cards, we are now selling cards for $5. They are lovely with a variety of messages imprinted on the vellum inserts including Happy Birthday, In Sympathy, Congratulations, Happy Anniversary, etc, PLUS a new series of Inspire cards with images of Jane Goodall, Malala and Rosa Parks. This was a terrific idea of Patty Colvig's to feature influential women and Lorna Bank and Nancy Hanson deserve a thank you for their work in putting the cards together.  Patty researched the images and found inspiration quotes. Many thanks, as always, to our printing angel, Noelle Berman. It's hard to find any printers who print on vellum, but Noelle does a great job for us at Hollywood Forever.

If you haven't checked out our new website yet, trip on over (http://topangawomenscircle.org) and take a look. Debra Silbar and I worked hard on this and Joanna Gunst made it possible. She is a website guru, right here in the Canyon. If you don't know Imagine Website Design, you have a treat in store!

We're still trying to consolidate some of our storage as we're still scattered around Los Angeles. Anything in Topanga is our first choice, natch, but close by would be great as well. As it is, we have our beloved Bin in Pine Tree Circle (thank you Carlson's), one at the Brewery Arts Complex (thank you Carlson's!), one at Bell Shelter (thank you Sharon Pregerson!) and one that we pay just under $500 a month for in Thousand Oaks. That's the first one we'd like to lose so if you have any ideas, please let us know!

And lastly, our committees. If anyone would like to help, please contact the committee heads. Included are their emails.

Bin Committee: Nancy Hanson (nancyhanson19@gmail.com). The Bin is open Saturday mornings throughout the year except when it's tipping down rain or boiling hot, from 9 to 10:30. Please contact Nancy if you would like to help out.

Shopping Committee: Teresa Royer (t.royer1218@gmail.com)  handles much of the shopping, creation of shopping lists and if you'd like to help out, please contact her. Emma Murray is our go to gal for big shops at Ikea!

Pull Committee: Again, Teresa (t.royer1218@gmail.com) handles most of the pulling with help from another volunteer. If you'd like to help her with this, drop her a line!

Perishable Committee: Drop Randi Gottlieb (rgottliebmft@gmail.com) if you'd like to be on this committee. For most set-ups, we ask help from our volunteer base and if no one is available, we then turn to this committee for help.

Non-Perishable Committee: Patty Colvig (pcolvig@verizon.net) keeps a close eye on our stocks in the Bin and in Thousand Oaks and springs into action when we're low. If you'd like to help out, drop her a line.

And now a few photos from recent set-ups!

Groceries for a smaller family...one mom, one child

Groceries for a larger family...six kids!
A table set for a family of four

Those ladies who 'pull' for the set-ups coordinated this one down to the shampoo and conditioner

Pat Lester, looking all done in after completing a set-up

Fab volunteers, Pat Lester, Gail Thomas, TWC co-chair Teresa Royer and Adrian Wright

Serene and ready for a new family

Happy we're all finished: Randi Gottlieb, Linda Ilsley, Judith Haut and Lorna Bank in front

Mom and teenage daughter arrived to this serene space. The welcome
note on the dining room table lets the new tenants know everything we've left is
theirs to keep and includes a Target gift card.

Paula Dove...unrolling a new rug

Wendy Skolfield...making the mom's room pretty

Tight space for two little girls...but it sure looks welcoming

Color coordinated for a large family and lovely Arbonne products donated
by volunteer, Margaret French Isaac

How beautiful is this? And someone donated the lovely screen
in the corner
A super full fridge for a super large family!