Ladling Out the Love 9

Local Volunteers Fill Hearts with Bowls of Hope

The Conejo Valley and its environs are wonderful places to live, but finding affordable housing for our homeless and low-income residents is often an issue. In fact, the dearth of affordable housing in our area has been an ongoing topic of discussion for nearly 40 years.

In early 1979, Frank Schillo called Thousand Oaks civic leaders together to try to find a solution to the high cost of housing here. Representatives of city government, business and faith communities, service clubs, nonprofits and others gathered to discuss ways of meeting the housing challenges.

Out of these efforts, Many Mansions was born. The organization was incorporated as a California nonprofit August 24, 1979, with a charitable mission of providing affordable housing and life-enriching services to those in our community most in need.

In order to undertake and sustain such a mammoth task, donations, grants, sponsorships and fundraising are necessary on an ongoing basis. One such activity is coming up this month on November 5.

The 16th Annual Bowls of Hope Event being held at California Lutheran University’s Gilbert Arena at 60 W. Olsen Road in Thousand Oaks is a fundraiser taking place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., displaying hundreds of painted bowls looking for homes. Tickets are $45 per person, with all donations and proceeds going directly to support the Many Mansions programs that currently aid some 500 local families. A family 4-pack of tickets is also offered at a discounted rate of $100. Each additional child is $10.

“We are pleased to host the Bowls of Hope once again at CLU,” notes Many Mansions President Rick Schroeder. “They have been great partners in this event, as we try to bring awareness to the community of our housing and service programs that we provide to our formerly homeless population and others who are seeking affordable housing. This is a wonderful family-friendly event for those who wish to support our mission or for those who wish to learn more about us and how they can help.”

The signature Bowls of Hope Event also brings to the public’s attention the ever-growing issue of trying to accommodate the disabled, homeless, aged and veterans in Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

Bowls of Service

Small groups, companies doing employee team building, and various other organizations get their collective creative juices flowing throughout the year with bowl painting parties to help support the Bowls of Hope Event. The fun never stops as everyone involved decorates their own bowl.

For a $15 donation per bowl, Many Mansions supplies the bowls and painting supplies. These fundraisers are appropriate for all levels of artistic talent and the finished, ceramic artworks are later displayed as souvenirs for every attendee of the annual Bowls of Hope Event.

“I have had the pleasure of partnering with Many Mansions for several years now—coordinating bowl painting parties for our employees, hosting donation drives and helping solicit volunteers for their Bowls of Hope Event each year,” shares Anjanette Guerrero with Bank of America. “Many Mansions is such an inspiring organization and it is an incredibly fulfilling feeling to be able to help them contribute to our communities.”

One of the bowl painting participants, Cynthia Gould, adds, “I love the idea of not just providing a generic bowl, but one where people are creative. By painting a bowl, we can give our love and creativity for the residents of Many Mansions. You fill the bowl with love even before it is filled with soup.”

Jenny Wolpert, another budding artist, states, “Painting a bowl is an expression of love and appreciation for what Many Mansions has brought to our community. Bowls of Hope is wonderful! The fact that I can create something artistic that someone else can take home because of this event makes my heart swell.”

Originally designed after soup kitchens, Bowls of Hope now showcases wonderful soups, breads and salads from local chefs and some 15 area restaurants. Attendees are encouraged to participate in a raffle for great prizes and a silent auction with over 15 amazing items for bid. More than 300 attendees are expected for the fun, informational and inspirational event.

This year’s Event Host Sponsor is California Lutheran University. Supporting sponsors include Union Bank, GB Construction, Tolman & Wiker, and Merritt Community Capital. The Patron sponsors are St. Julie Billiart Catholic Church, Cedarstone, Gelsons (Thousand Oaks) and Boston Private Bank. Friends sponsors include Conejo-Simi-Moorpark Association of REALTORS®, S.L. Leonard & Associates, Inc., St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church, Master Tub Reglazing, Yardi, CoastHills Community Foundation, Los Robles Volunteers and California Housing Partnership. National Charity League and Bank of America also provide many volunteers to support the event.

Event proceeds and donations support Many Mansions’ onsite services at the residences they manage. While the organization is an affordable housing provider, what distinguishes it from similar groups is that their emphasis is also on providing life-enriching services to their residents.

These free services are aimed at helping the residents better deal with their life circumstances and addressing the root causes of their poverty. The price tag and proximity of these services are crucial to the Many Mansions residents, as many do not have the resources or transportation to seek out other support in the community. Children’s programs, food assistance and case management are just a few of the services provided for individuals and families under their care.

“I THINK MANY MANSIONS IS AN AWESOME ORGANIZATION AND I ONLY WISH WE COULD DO MORE TO HELP THEM GROW,” SAYS VOLUNTEER TINA STOCKDALE. “THEY ARE CHANGING LIVES EVERY DAY, ONE FAMILY AT A TIME!”

Many Mansions’ Mission

The organization’s goal in providing quality, affordable housing and empowering services for low-income individuals and families in Ventura and Los Angeles counties starts with renovating dilapidated apartment buildings or constructing new apartment buildings. Through the organization’s efforts and with the support of the community through fundraising efforts, such as Bowls of Hope, Many Mansions is able to continue its work to put a roof over the heads of those in need.

To support or donate to the Bowls of Hope Event, call 805.852.5216 or learn more at ManyMansions.org.