Charity Begins at Home with TWC

Topanga Women’s Circle helps provide necessities for families transitioning from homeless. Above, a bare bones bedroom that will get the TWC treatment. Photo by Debra Silbar

Elaine Hanson, Topanga resident and realtor at Partners Trust, Doug Hanson Construction, and other generous supporters have jump-started the Topanga Women’s Circle (TWC) annual Challenge Grant Campaign with $16,000 through Network for Good.

TWC is a local volunteer group committed to improving the lives of homeless families and veterans in Los Angeles with the mission of helping the homeless settle more comfortably into their new accommodations. Working with two agencies, Westwood Transitional Village and Venice Community Housing’s Transitional Living Center for Moms and Kids, TWC helps the neediest of families by furnishing bare-bones apartments of transitional housing with the necessities we all take for granted. When the families later move into more permanent housing, they take with them all the items provided by TWC.

In Los Angeles County alone, homelessness has jumped 23 percent in the last year, including more than 63,000 children living on the streets, in shelters and in their cars. These donors have recognized that the needs of the homeless in Los Angeles County are enormous and that bridge (or transitional) housing is a critical step in getting the neediest into permanent housing.

“Please consider supporting this charity as it continues its mission,” says TWC co-chair Lin Ilsley. “The generosity of our volunteers is unflagging and your help is needed now more than ever as the longer-term transitional housing has become bridge housing (limited to two years) and TWC is working double-time to keep up with the need.”

“It’s the little things…” their website says, “A new kettle, fresh bath towels and crisp new sheets help create a comfortable and welcoming home for families coming off the streets.”

As of press time, $3,495 has been raised towards the $16,000 goal. “No donation is too small (or too large) and donating is easy,” Ilsley says. “Whether you give $25, $100 or more, your donation will be doubled and is guaranteed to improve the lives of our veterans and other homeless families.”

About Topanga Women’s Circle—Arlette Parker founded TWC in 2005 after seeing a need for those moving out of homelessness into transitional housing. She created a strong working model that has been followed to this day, even as the charity has grown enormously since its founding. In 2009, Arlette and her husband, Andrew, returned to Antibes in her native France and Karen Sherwood and Linda Ilsley, after being trained and coached by Arlette and Andrew, took over the reins. Linda now shares the co-chair spot with Teresa Royer and its invaluable Advisory Board: Lorna Bank, Nancy Hanson, Karla Morrison, Karen Sherwood, Debra Silbar and Janaki Welch.

What does TWC do? They transform bare-bones housing into comfortable homes for approved families by providing the many necessities that we all take for granted – fresh new bedding, toiletries, fresh food, towels, and kitchen supplies – allowing a newly arrived and often traumatized family to make a hot meal, take a bath, sleep in clean bedding and, importantly, to feel welcomed and supported.  For many of the children, it is the first stable housing and clean bedding they’ve experienced in years and they especially love the school supplies, backpacks and age-appropriate books, cuddly stuffed animals and toys TWC volunteers leave for them.

TWC’s goal is to create an environment of love and comfort with a focus on dignity and self-worth and all items provided are new or like new. TWC volunteers not only purchase these supplies but also spend considerable time creating a welcoming home environment in which these families can finally feel comfortable and a sense of pride in their new accommodations. The TWC donation bin in Pine Tree Circle, just across from Canyon Gourmet, receives donations of these items on Saturday mornings from 9-10:30 a.m.

Residents of these facilities take part in classes which help them with parenting, education and financial planning and are actively helped with their job searches, all critical steps towards achieving a degree of economic stability and, ultimately, permanent housing. The work TWC does is a vital step in achieving that goal. Everything provided for these families is a contribution towards helping them start a new life and is theirs to take with them as they move into their forever home.

For more information on TWC and to donate: topangawomenscircle; or to participate in the Network for Good challenge grant:


TWC’s goal is to create an environment of love and caring, but they need help. Learn more at Photo by Debra Silbar
No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.