The bulk of 2016 was spent bringing our Community Closet to life — a project/resource we heavily underestimated, blinded by our excitement for its potential. We were able to secure storage space at a discount to get us started, but that was only the beginning of our journey to making it a sustainable resource. To bring the Closet to life, we needed the community to be an active partner with us. We marketed and launched a two-week long donations drive, we worked with volunteers on a designated sorting day for over six hours to go through the donations received.... and then we moved everything to storage to organize once more!
And then we organized....and folded, and organized, and bought shelving, then bought bins, then realized the bins were too big for the shelving, then drank some beer and then found a spider and we all screamed. With more than 25-30 hours of visits interspersed between our working mom schedules, we were able to officially launch the Closet in September 2016, and have been accommodating Closet requests on a regular basis since. This Closet is really the cornerstone of our non-profit in terms of what we hope to continue providing to families and individuals in our communities... the basics and resources that will help make a difference if money is tight, times are tough or you just need a little help.
As we continue to grow and develop ourselves in the community, we are learning more and more about how to streamline our resources, how to make them more convenient and accessible, and how to establish ourselves in such a way that you know about us!
One of our biggest annual meeting items for discussion was the planning of our
"OPEN CLOSET DAY." On Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, we will be hosting an "open day" for our local families and individuals in need to swing by our Closet and collect up to two bags worth of items (based on inventory and individual needs). In order to attend our Open Closet Day, those interested must pre-register by Feb. 1, 2017 so that we have time to organize and reach out for specific and individual needs as best we can. We will have more information on this event soon and how to pre-register, but for now we ask you to mark your calendars.
In preparation for our Open Closet Day, we'll be launching a donations drive for diapers, bottles and baby wipes in January... which are our most requested items. Please stay tuned for our flier with details on how you can donate these items, and other requested necessities.
We've learned a lot about our community this year, and have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback we've received, as well as the financial support and volunteer requests. We work diligently to make sure that when we take on a partnership or event, that we are doing so responsibily and in accordance with the mission of our non-profit. The community has put their trust in us, and it is our responsibility to honor that trust.
2016 also marked our second Conejo Community Thanksgiving. With a goal to provide 30 family-sized meal packages, due to the community's support, we were able to surpass that, ultimately dispersing 36 family-sized meal packages to nominated families from all backgrounds and sizes. We couldn't have pulled off the event with out the help of our volunteers, the donations we received, and all the support in spreading the word. We thank you so much for continuing to be a part of our mission.
This year we also planned and executed our first "Parents' Night Out" event with a Paint Nite, Cronies' Fundraiser, and babysitting deal all wrapped into one amazing night! We had auction items and raffles and goody bags ... and did we mention the complimentary wine and hors d'oeuvres?! Local community vendors went above and beyond to support us and we couldn't be more thankful for the donations! We sold out our 35 tickets, and had a blast meeting local parents in the community, while sippin' and paintin' and raising money to meet our operating needs. We plan to do another Paint Nite event this year, and hope to see old and new faces!
We also discussed an event that is very close to our hearts — Relay for Life 2017. This year, we have two board members on the RFL Leadership Team - Kinsie Flame, chair of event, and Jessica Weihe, marketing and community champion. We hope you'll support our CCO TEAM!! We couldn't be more thrilled to be part of an event that makes such a difference in honoring those who have battled cancer. This year, we're keeping the community in mind, and Relay for Life will truly be a family-friendly community event that we encourage everyone to be a part of — whether you'd like to volunteer, sign up your family or work as an RFL team, or come out to the event to support and enjoy all of the fun activities we'll have in store, like the kids' camp, or the "boutique row."
MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR MAY 20-21 2017! #rflcv2017
In addition to the events we're hosting or taking part in, we're going to work toward being more active in pursuing volunteer opportunities that we can participate in, and we hope you'll join us as well! We always welcome you to give us the scoop if you know of an event that needs help. Get in touch! We'll figure out how we can help be a part of or promote.
Our annual meeting today was invigorating and positive and we really feel like we're ready to embrace all that 2017 has in store for us. Thanks for taking the ride with us!
LEARN MORE ABOUT US
Conejo Community Outreach is an IRS-recognized 501(c)3 corporation.
We aim to connect local generosity with local need for support by hosting a variety of community fundraising events that directly give back to individuals and families in the Conejo Valley.
We believe that communities gain strength when all residents are appropriately clothed and fed.