Helping Homeless Families During Covid-19

As we enter the fifth month of living and working during a pandemic, Topanga Women’s Circle continues to help homeless families through our partnerships with Venice Community Housing and Westwood Transitional Village.  Permanent housing continues to be the number one priority for the families living in bridge housing.  This is happening with some speed as more and more landlords are accepting housing vouchers in order to keep their apartments at capacity. This week alone we have three families moving in.

Teresa and Emma have been shopping and Pat Lester has volunteered to do a big Smart & Final shop as she has 10 days off work and is keen to help. Thank you, Pat! Nice to give T & E a break.

Teresa has been busy pulling and yesterday we did a drop off in Venice for two families moving in. As one mom is expecting in a couple of months, Pat Lester met us at the Bin with a beautiful diaper bag she’d found at a thrift store, filled with essentials for the baby, including a beautifully soft reversible flannel blanket she had made. Pat also did the perishable shopping for both families which was super helpful.

Today I’ll meet Teresa down at the Bin this morning, load up my car and then head to Westwood as another small family is due to arrive this afternoon…a young mom and her 2 y.o. son. Shelley Butler purchased perishables and was super generous…I could barely fit everything in my basement fridge! Today Shelley is moving (fortunately for us not too far away) so we’re so appreciative that she took the time yesterday to go shopping for TWC!

The employees of Venice and Westwood have been honing their ‘decorating’ chops and are so appreciative that TWC is continuing to help the new families, albeit in a slightly different way. We’re all incorporating the new [for now] normal into our lives and certain behaviors are fast becoming normal: masks, face shields, hand sanitizers…things we never used to think about before leaving home.

Yesterday the Bin was power washed…the first step towards a new, beautiful look. Do Wright Painting will be painting it,  hopefully this weekend and then Liz and an artist friend of hers will carefully cut in over the section of river rock that can be saved and she will start working her artistic magic. Her plan is to seal the new artwork (and river rock wall) with a special sealant which hopefully will protect it from potential future damage. I think you’ll all love the result and it will certainly give the Bin a much needed, fresher look.  We’re so lucky that Liz has such a generous spirit and is donating her time and vision to create beauty once more on our cherished bin.

There seem to be a lot of babies of late and we’re finding certain items are super expensive to purchase, such as crib mattress pads. If you know anyone with babies transitioning to beds who might have some crib mattress pads and bedding, please ask them if they’d consider donating to TWC.

Some volunteers have asked how they can help since the Bin is closed for donations on Saturday mornings and we’re just doing drop offs, no set-ups. We continue to have to shop and while we’re not going to ask you to go into the stores, there are certain items that we are always having to replace: QS & twin bedding, infant bedding, pillows, kitchen & bath items, decorative pillows for the couch, etc. If you can help in any way with donations, gift cards or new items, that would be much appreciated. Please remember, if you are donating anything used, we only accept items in excellent, clean condition…no stains, tears, etc. 

For a full list of items needed go to:  If you would like to make a donation please contact Lin Illsley at