Simple Needs GA low on donated items. Drive is tomorrow, Aug. 20!

“I asked a church for some pots and pans and am now receiving so much more!”

Earlier this summer a single mom with a young daughter and a teenage son went to a local church and asked for some pots and pans so she could cook for her children. The church referred this family, which had been staying in a homeless shelter to escape an abuser, to Simple Needs GA. They were overjoyed at having successfully rented a house, but were nonetheless sleeping on one mattress loaned to them by their landlord.

In fact, the place was nearly empty. “When we ran away, we left everything we had,” the woman explained to Brenda Rhodes, SNGA’s founder. “At one point, my son didn’t have shoes.”

Brenda invited the family to visit SNGA’s Marietta warehouse. “We are just a perfect resource for a family in this kind of situation,” Brenda said.

Over and over again, Brenda and our volunteers have watched clients visit the warehouse and cry after realizing they will be taking home things like linens, towels, pillows, silverware, pots and pans, small appliances, lamps, books, underwear, toiletries, TVs, microwaves and even gaming systems.

“Often our clients will fill up their cars and just be in disbelief,” Brenda said. “And of course, SNGA volunteers like Yolanda, Danielle and Jay are always working overtime to pick up and deliver beds, sofas, chairs and tables to these families as well.”

The goal is to bring more comfort and dignity into clients’ lives, Brenda says. “Sometimes we forge longer-term relationships with families and help them in other ways as well,” she said. “For example, SNGA is now bringing its My Birthday Matters program to the children of furniture recipients.” The mom described above has already given Brenda a birthday wish list for her daughter. Meanwhile, with the help of other agencies, SNGA is working to get this family the clothes they need, too.

In support of this mission, SNGA’s next donation drive and volunteer day is Sat., Aug. 20, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at our Marietta warehouse. We hope you can drop by and volunteer or just bring some new or gently used donations. Please note that we are running quite low on donated items and could really use your help!

A great way to find out about specific needed items is to visit our SignUp Genius page. Some specific needs for children’s birthdays are here. We have also updated our online list of needed items here.

If you don’t have time to shop for new items or to gather gently used ones from around your house, gift cards can be a quick-and-easy option. “If you check the SignUp Genius page, you’ll see that we usually have a need for gift cards to places like Walmart or GameStop,” Brenda said. “These are a huge help for our clients.”

Just email brenda@simpleneedsga.org to get the address for Saturday. If you have furniture, please email about that as well so we can discuss the details (and please include photos).

BIG THANKS TO RACETRAC
We just wanted to give a “shout out” to the volunteers from locally based RaceTrac, known for its more than 600 RaceTrac and RaceWay stores around the Southeast.image3

On a recent Saturday, a great group of around 25 interns plus a team leader from RaceTrac’s corporate office spent a few hours at our Marietta warehouse putting together Comfort Kits, as well as assembling no-sew blankets for our My Birthday Matters program.

“The volunteers worked very hard the entire time they were there, despite the heat!” Brenda said. “Residents of local homeless shelters love the Comfort Kits; they contain all the hygiene items they might need plus some other useful items. And the blankets are one of the many items the kids receive as a recipient of our My Birthday Matters program. So the efforts of these volunteers will be felt directly by our clients. Thanks so much!”

image1Kristen Gittings, RaceTrac’s Associate Manager, Events & Branding, said the experience was amazing. “Our team loved being able to lend a hand to Simple Needs GA and take a break from our normal day-to-day,” she said. “We love giving back to the community any way that we can. We wish we had more time to create more Comfort Kits, no-sew blankets and making birthdays special. We can’t wait to come back next summer!”

SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS: TIME TO START PLANNING!
c8e39e82-0301-41b0-8f19-61662e6c95a5Our new Spirit of Christmas program aims to “fill in the gaps” by helping families that were unable to register for other local programs such as the MUST Toy Shop, Cobb Christmas or Toys for Tots. However, it’s a big job that requires a lot of coordination. “We want to make this year’s program run even more efficiently by doing some advance planning,” explains SNGA Founder Brenda Rhodes. “Ideally, this will enable us to help even more families this Christmas.”

If you’d like to join us and help plan for the holiday season, just email brenda@simpleneedsga.org.

ARTICLE IN GA STATE HOMES
Thanks to Amy Lee and Elisha Neubauer of Georgia State Homes, a full-service brokerage firm serving all of Georgia, for writing about Simple Needs GA on the company’s website. Check it out!

RECURRING DONATIONS (‘SIMPLY CARING’)
If you regularly make donations to Simple Needs GA (or would like to!), we’d love it if you would consider making your donation automatically recur each month. Just go to SimpleNeedsGA.org, click one of the “donate” buttons and then check “make this donation recurring (monthly).”

Of course, you could also just mail a monthly check to:

Simple Needs GA
P.O. Box 670265
Marietta, GA 30066

A note on gift-matching: By some estimates, 65 percent of Fortune 500 companies match donations made by their employees. This can be a fantastic way to increase the impact of your donation. Consider contacting your employer’s HR department to find out about any available matching programs.

Lastly, we’re part of the Kroger Community Rewards program. It’s time for shoppers to re-enroll. Click here to learn more about this neat way to contribute to SNGA each time you use your Kroger Rewards card.kroger_community_rewards

Thanks for all you do for people in need!

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About Joel Groover

I started covering the shopping center industry in 1999 for Shopping Center World (later, Retail Traffic). Today, I'm the Atlanta-based contributing editor for Shopping Centers Today, the monthly magazine published by the International Council of Shopping Centers trade association. I earned my journalism degree from The University of Georgia and, among other publications, have worked for The Marietta Daily Journal, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Art & Antiques. I became a full-time freelancer in 2003. In addition to writing monthly cover stories and other features on retail real estate, I write and edit press releases, corporate newsletter articles, annual reports, byline pieces and website copy for a variety of PR and corporate clients. I live in Marietta, Ga., with my wonderful wife, Susan, and my 13-year-old identical twin boys, Andrew and Benjamin.

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