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NWNC Homelessness Committee Profile

We are kicking off a new article profiling a NWNC Committee each month. The goal is to give our stakeholders more insight into all of the great work being done by our Committees and recognize the many volunteers that make it all happen.
For the first Committee Profile, we are focusing on Homelessness where Gail Lapaz serves as Committee Chair. Gail is a NWNC board member dedicating her efforts to the unhoused including participation in numerous homeless town halls, unsheltered outreach efforts and participating in the West Valley Neighborhood Alliance on Homelessness. Most recently, Gail and the Homeless Committee were instrumental in our NWNC COVID-19 efforts including working with 8 NWNC volunteers who sewed hundreds of masks that were given to Northridge Park & Recreation Center for the homeless, the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission Food Pantry at Northridge, The Village at Northridge, and local businesses in our area.We would like to give a special thanks to our amazing group of volunteer mask makers who worked tirelessly to make masks in those first few weeks of the pandemic. THANK YOU!

Gail’s band of seamstresses included the Oswalds. John Oswald reached out to generously donate a houseful of material for the masks. Below Gail, shares with our community a heartfelt story about the Oswalds.

A Legacy in Remnants

Patricia Oswald was a seamstress who made clothes, gifts and home décor for her family, friends and First Presbyterian Church of Granada Hills, until she suffered a stroke seven years ago. She eventually passed away just over a year ago, leaving a cabinet filled with remnants of her past.

When John Oswald, Patricia’s husband read on Nextdoor that the Northridge West Neighborhood Council (NWNC) was making masks for the community due to COVID-19, he graciously offered Patricia’s remnants.

Gail Lapaz, was quick to take John up on his offer. When she arrived to help him pack up the fabric, Gail was stunned. Patricia left eight shelves stocked with various fabrics in a rainbow of colors, patterns and textures.

To date, NWNC stakeholders have sewn hundreds of masks that were donated to Northridge Hospital, LAPD, local small businesses, Tarzana Hospital, veterans, and non-profit church boutiques as well as the unhoused we had been sheltering at Northridge Park. Patricia’s fabrics have made an impact, reaching as far as Africa (“Little Dresses for Africa”).

NWNC extends a gracious thank to John Oswald for a most generous donation. Patricia left a legacy in remnants that benefit our community and beyond.

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