Monthly Archives: August 2017

SNGA Donation Drive this Sat. (Aug. 19)

“My children and I didn’t have any beds or any furniture at all. We were sleeping on air mattresses. The beds and the dresser have been really great. The furniture is in good condition. I’m happy and the kids are happy. It was a really great experience.”

The quote above is from “Sharon,” a working mom with four kids ranging in age from toddler to teen. The family had come to Georgia to flee a difficult situation in another state. “They had nothing but their clothes—no furniture, no books, no bedding,” explained our volunteer Cathy Dandelakis.

After being turned down by several other social service agencies because she could not afford the $100 payment they expected, Sharon had almost given up on providing her children with a decent home.

And then she found Simple Needs GA.

Since Sharon doesn’t drive, Cathy picked her up at her apartment and took her to our Marietta warehouse, where Sharon filled out a list of needs and then worked with Cathy to find these items. “She was amazed that she was allowed to pick out all the things she needed,” Cathy said. “Some of her most treasured finds were books and new pillows for the children, a high chair and a vegetable peeler.”

Back at the apartment complex, Cathy watched with delight as Sharon’s children came pouring down the steps. “They were so happy to see everything: Dishes! Pots and pans! Bedding! Lamps! Towels! Shampoo!” Cathy said. “Each child received a brand-new backpack filled with school supplies. It was like Christmas in August!” Later in the day, SNGA volunteers Mike and Danielle, along with some helpers, delivered the furniture and beds.

The kids will be getting their birthday presents this Saturday.

“This was my first time having intimate contact with a family and it was so rewarding,” Cathy said. “The family was so grateful; Sharon and the children thanked me over and over. They just couldn’t believe that a bunch of strangers could be so kind. This is why I volunteer for Simple Needs GA. It was a total privilege to be able to provide this family hope for a better life.”

Our next monthly Donation Drive is Sat., Aug. 19, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please consider bringing some donations to our Marietta warehouse. And even if you aren’t able to bring any this month, feel free to stop by for a tour or to help us sort and store donations and take care of other small projects.

If you want to come on the 19th but can’t make it, no worries—we’re now adding a Donation Drive (same time and location) on the first Saturday of every month as well. The next two Donation Drive dates are Sept. 2 and Sept. 16. Mark your calendar! (NOTE: We’ll only send out an email reminder for the Donation Drive on the third Saturday of each month.)

Our greatest needs right now are character backpacks (new only), microwaves, hand towels, washcloths, lamps, pots and pans (especially larger), twin/full/queen/king blankets and queen/king comforters, toaster ovens, vacuum cleaners, DVD players, toasters, irons, ironing boards, smaller wall art, can openers, shower curtain rings, new mops and brooms, women’s socks, boys’ underwear (esp XL 16-18), and bakeware. We are also accepting gently used kids’ clothing for winter and summer. For a full list of items that our clients need, please click here.

Other needed items include working TVs (not too large/heavy), mattresses and box springs of all sizes, and gently used (no damage or stains) furniture such as dressers, dining tables, dining chairs, small desks, washers/electric dryers (no front loaders), bed frames and other furniture. Please send photos to if you have any of these items to donate; we will arrange for you to drop off or a pick up.

We wanted to thank Liberal Moms of Roswell and Cobb (LMRC) for donating 40 backpacks filled with school supplies on July 29 for our My Birthday Matters program! (PICTURED: Sharon Whelan, who worked with fellow LMRC member Alice Cheung on this effort!) We have already started distributing these much-needed packs. LMRC has helped us out so much over the past few months!

Also, we wanted to express our gratitude to Georgia Rambo of Sew Dreams Come True for her custom embroidery of our new polo shirts (PICTURED). Beautiful! Georgia’s Marietta-based business creates custom curtains, pillow shams, throw pillows, duvet covers and more. Thanks so much, Georgia. The shirts look great!

Lastly, big thanks to all the members of the youth group at Burnt Hickory Church of Christ, on Burnt Hickory Road in Marietta, who came to our donation drive and volunteer day on Sat., July 15. These energetic young people (see a video slideshow) spruced up the landscape outside our entrance and assisted with projects inside our space as well. We got a nice note from Evan of Burnt Hickory: “Brenda, you all were a blessing. Thank you for hosting our teens as they learned how to serve and learned more about great things happening in our community.”

If you’re like me, you feel a bit guilty when you return from a grocery or discount store with a dozen or more plastic bags. (The United States goes through anywhere from 100 billion to 300 billion plastic bags a year!)

Fortunately, we want your bags (just the kind you get from grocery stores or Walmart, no newspaper bags) for a cool cause—sleeping mats (PICTURED) for people experiencing homelessness. Some awesome volunteers with Give Homeless Hope make these. It takes about 700 bags to make one mat!

Thanks so much for your help of people in need!

Now and again, we like to touch base with our volunteers to find out how their lives have been enriched by serving people in need in our community. Check out our Volunteer Spotlight featuring Stacy McIlwain and Alicia Putnam!

Thanks for your support of people in need!


Donate online here. Donations can be sent to Simple Needs GA, Inc., P.O. Box 670265, Marietta, GA 30066.

To volunteer as an individual, company, church or other organization, contact us at Visit our volunteer page for more info. is a great way to support SNGA. Just sign up for the program and choose Simple Needs GA from the list. After that, AmazonSmile will donate to SNGA each time you make a purchase! Just remember to go to the portal before you do your shopping!

Check out how you can support us in similar fashion by signing up for Kroger Community Rewards!


Volunteer Spotlight: Stacy and Alicia

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” – Rabindranath Tagore.

 Now and again, we like to touch base with our volunteers to find out how their lives have been enriched by serving people in need in our community. For our dedicated volunteer Stacy McIlwain, it all started with underwear.

Stacy found out about SNGA soon after moving to Marietta in the winter of 2015.

“I came across a Facebook request from SNGA for underwear for teenage boys to accompany their Christmas gifts,” she said. “As a retired high school teacher, this was right up my alley.”


Stacy McIlwain

Stacy went out and bought packs of underwear and a couple of Dopp Kits (shaving kits with toiletries) for the clients. That same day, she met SNGA founder Brenda Rhodes. “Brenda impressed me so much that I told her I would be back to volunteer,” Stacy said.

As a retired teacher, Stacy relishes her ability to use her free time to give back via several SNGA programs, including My Birthday Matters, Simply Sheltered and Simple Household Needs. Her work with the latter program often includes bringing beds to clients who are sleeping on the floor.

Stacy takes sleeping bags, tents, candles, small hygiene kits and other useful items to people living in the woods and loves picking out brand-new books for recipients of our My Birthday Matters program. On the first and third Saturdays of the month, she sorts and logs items coming into our donation room and frequently pauses to think about the difference they will make for families in need.

“Working in the donation room and seeing working irons and electric skillets, matching sheet sets, new brooms and mops, and sets of flatware always makes me do a little dance,” she said. “I know they won’t stay in the warehouse very long. They will be put to use in a client’s home.”

 One of our newer volunteers, Alicia Putnam, found out about SNGA through a volunteer program at work. She has volunteered several times now. “What stood out most to me at first was that this is a local organization supporting our own local communities,” she said. “I was able to work directly with people in the community that are getting back on their feet and moving into their own place.”

Alicia Putnam

Alicia Putnam

Volunteering at our Marietta warehouse, Alicia has been particularly moved by the experience of helping clients pick out household items that will help transform their new houses or apartments into comfortable and dignified homes. “It is a really nice feeling to see their excitement and relief,” she explained.

Alicia is looking forward to volunteering with other SNGA programs such as My Birthday Matters, Shoe them Love and Comfort Kits. “I think these are all really great programs to help care for those in need in our community,” she said. “This is a great organization filling a real need and I am glad to be a part of it.”

Thanks so much to all the donors and volunteers who make Simple Needs GA possible!

Aug. 11 benefit for Simple Needs GA at PearTree in Kennesaw

Greetings, all.

We wanted to let you know about an exciting benefit for Simple Needs GA coming up on Fri., Aug. 11, at the Kennesaw location of PearTree, a floral, home furnishings and gift shop at 1600 Kennesaw Due West Rd.

Kim Kornblatt, owner of the family-owned business, is offering store-wide discounts of 25 percent off on PearTree items.

Available at the event: handcrafted designer jewelry by EsBe Designs; stay-on lipstick and gloss by Lipsense; trendy women’s fashions by Lularoe; and bath and body products by Perfectly Posh, to name a few, along with art and monogramming & products. There will be door prizes, giveaways, wine, appetizers and Nothing Bundt Cakes, too.

“I wanted to have an event that would help our community, so I reached out to small business owners and asked if they wanted to partner with me,” Kim said. “The response was overwhelming! I’m hoping this will be our first of many to come.”

Kim found out about Simple Needs GA from one of her customers. “I’m so excited that you’re right here in our own backyard,” Kim said. “My heart goes out to struggling women and children everywhere. I just wanted to get involved and try to make an impact in our community!”

You can buy an advanced $10 ticket through PearTree’s Facebook page or call 770-422-7360. Kim is asking everyone who drops by to “sip, shop and socialize” to make a $10 donation to SNGA. The event starts at 7 and ends at 10 p.m.

To learn more about PearTree, which also has a downtown Powder Springs location at 4440 Marietta St., visit

PearTree ~ Home.Florist.Gifts is a family-owned local business that has been serving its customers with custom floral arrangemet delivery In Powder Springs and metro Atlanta since 1978. The Kennesaw location opened in 2010.