Who would have thought a donated chair could make such a difference for a family in need?

Black_ReclinerThe client who received the black recliner from Simple Needs GA’s Simple Household Needs program burst into tears a couple of weeks ago when sharing the details of her situation with SNGA founder Brenda Rhodes. “When I delivered some things her kids had requested–like a backpack and some underwear and socks–she shared the story of how her dad is suffering from COPD and dying of cancer,” Brenda said. “The client needed the chair because her dad cannot sleep in a bed anymore. He needs to be elevated now.”

Brenda, whose mother died of lung cancer in 2011, was there to listen. “This client really didn’t have anyone else to talk to about what she was going through,” Brenda said. “I reached out to a social worker, who got the client some further help in the form of counseling. It would be so easy to look at that recliner and think ‘it’s just a chair,’ but it was much more than that.”

Small acts of kindness can have big effects. Thanks for your generous support of Simple Needs GA!

Below is a quick Q&A with Brenda about some of the latest happenings at SNGA…

SNGA recently expanded its Simple Household Needs program, which provides cleaning kits, furniture, beds and other items. What’s been happening with that program?

Storage unit across from Roswell St. Baptist Church

Lately we have had a lot of activity with Simple Household Needs—pretty big increases in donations as well as requests from clients. Our new storage facility across from the Roswell Street Baptist Church will fill up and then empty, fill up and then empty! We’re always looking for help with the furniture component of this program, in particular. Logistically, it can be a challenge for us. We’re getting great help from Danielle, Yolanda, Rick, Jay, Greg and other volunteers but can really use some more help with picking up and delivering furniture.

How about the Cobb Community Foundation grant?

We owe a huge thanks to the Cobb Community Foundation and the Cobb County Board of Commissioners for honoring us—for the second year in a row—with a $10k Impact Grant.

We are so excited because this grant will go a long way toward helping us expand our programs into more schools and otherwise help more people and children in need.

Funds from the grant will be allocated toward five of our programs. It will help us expand My Birthday Matters through our new partnership with Communities in Schools, a nonprofit that works to reduce school dropout rates and help kids succeed. The grant will also help us provide birthday gifts and other items for the children of our furniture clients. Even though these families are not technically homeless (which is our target population), they are typically unable to afford the birthdays that they would like to give their kids since they just got back on their feet. We’re using the grant to expand our Uniforms for Excellence program, which provides schoolchildren with required school uniforms, and the money will also help us provide children with new shoes via their school social workers. We’re adding nail clippers to the Comfort Kits that we give to people checking into local shelters, and we’re also using $2,000 in grant money to support a program at the First United Methodist Church of Marietta that gives backpacks full of food for the weekend to children in need.

You recently graduated from the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce’s prestigious Leadership Cobb program. Could you talk about how that could help Simple Needs GA?

Being accepted into Leadership Cobb was a huge honor. It really is a tremendous program which I highly recommend. For nonprofits, it can dramatically increase your network of potential donors and volunteers. To give you an example, one of the CFO sessions was at RaceTrac with owner Allison Moran. Allison then donated some toiletry kits her daughter had put together for the homeless and this month, RaceTrac will be doing a corporate volunteer day at our warehouse.

Simple Needs GA just received its first car donation? How did that come about?

A very generous donor, who has given to our furniture program, surprised us by donating a 2003 Ford Expedition with just 89,000 miles on the odometer. We sold the vehicle, and this yielded $5,200 for our programs!

Another new development is the use of SignUpGenius. Could you talk about how that has helped SNGA?

SignUpGenius-squareWhen you make in-kind donations to nonprofits, you sometimes don’t know if what you’re giving is needed. Our SignUp Genius page is proving to be a great way for our supporters to find out about specific items that our clients need. So far we have posted items needed for several programs, in particular My Birthday Matters and Simple Household Needs, plus some needs for agencies with which we collaborate. A huge thanks to those of you who have already donated via this tool!

Anything else that you would like to share?

One noteworthy thing to mention is the growth of our My Birthday Matters program. We have been doing birthdays left and right lately. This program was the brainchild of our board member Kasey Litt, who had felt neglected and sad as a child when her financially struggling family was unable to give her anything on her birthdays. What a fantastic thing to see Kasey’s vision become a reality for so many children in need! Over the summer, things will be a little slower for MBM because we won’t have school social workers sending us as many birthday recipients. However, we will still be working with local shelters and already have a few summer birthdays on the schedule. As I mentioned, we will be doing birthdays for furniture clients as well.13248433_1055624061139956_4550091847099542904_o-2

Brenda (l) with Kristin Hanfland

 I want to give a heartfelt thanks to the incredible generosity of the parents of our board member Melanie. They have been major supporters of SNGA and came through again for us in 2016 to honor her on her birthday. Lastly, we were honored to receive a 2016 appreciation award from the Marietta City Schools! That was very exciting, and it felt great to know that the school system appreciates what we do.


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