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.”

StacyMcIlwain2

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!

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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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