First of all, they mended my broken heart.
That’s how a formerly homeless mom responded earlier this month when asked how SNGA had helped her. Here’s a bit more of her story…
FORMERLY HOMELESS MOM FINDS HOPE AFTER TOUGH JOURNEY
“Anna,” a mom with a 3-month-old daughter and a 15-year-old son, looked around in her empty one-bedroom apartment on Delk Road and felt dejected.
“I said to myself, ‘Here I am in this new apartment, but I have absolutely nothing—no furniture, no clothing for my kids, nothing for myself,’ ” she recalled.
The lack of possessions was just the half of it: Over the past year or so, Anna, who is 38, broke her ankle and had to stop working at her factory job. While pregnant with her daughter, she was evicted from her apartment and lived on the streets and, later, out of a van. Anna was also separated from her son, who went to live with his grandmother out of state while his mom looked for a place to live.
Anna found an apartment just in time for the birth of her daughter, but admits she was struggling.
“The other day I saw Simple Needs GA online, and I said, ‘Maybe they can help me, because I’m actually going to get my son and bring him home, praise God,’ ” she said. “When I spoke to Stacy [‘Mac’ McIlwain] about the services and about what Simple Needs GA could actually help me with, I just broke down and cried.”
Anna and her family are all set to receive beds, a dresser, lamps, a TV and TV stand, dining room furniture, a playpen and many other useful items that make an empty apartment feel like a home. “She was so excited to learn about SNGA’s My Birthday Matters program because her children have so little,” Mac said. “She hasn’t been able to give her son presents while she was homeless.”
Starting over with nothing is daunting, Anna says, but it is encouraging and uplifting to meet people who care. “For Simple Needs GA to actually call me back, it was just so joyful,” she said. “When I got that phone call, my whole world just changed.”
Our amazing donors and volunteers make stories like this possible. Thanks for your support!
DONATION DRIVE ON SAT., JUNE 15!
Our next monthly Donation Drive is Sat., June 15, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at our Marietta warehouse. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the address or if you have any questions.
If you can’t make it on June 15, we’ll have drives next month on July 6 and July 20. Mark your calendars!
Click here for our My Birthday Matters SignUp Genius
Top needs are:
- birthday wrapping paper for younger girls and boys
- washable markers (box of 10-12)
- kitchen garbage cans
- Dr. Seuss books
- chapter books for tweens
- Amazon Fire 7 tablets and cases
- stuffed wolves, unicorns and tigers
- stuffed dogs for older kids
- Character (such as Paw Patrol) and learning books for younger children
NEW OR GENTLY USED
- TVs (cable-ready and not too large/heavy)
- ironing boards
- crock pots
- paper towel holders
- coffee makers
Additional donor resources:
SNGA client Amazon Wish List
List of small household items SNGA clients are offered
‘BLANKET LADY’ KEEPS HOMELESS CHILDREN COMFY AND WARM
If you wanted to give Jan Lazzara a nickname, “The Blanket Lady” might just do the trick.
The East Cobb resident is rapidly becoming an expert in all things fleece-y, says SNGA Founder Brenda Rhodes. “Fleece no-sew blankets are a big part of our My Birthday Matters packages for homeless kids, and Jan has made a tonof blankets for us,” Brenda said. “She has taken the time to learn about the specific colors we need and even went through our fleece inventory and purchased matching fleece… and also has identified blankets that needed a little TLC and fixed them for us! We’re so grateful for Jan’s help!”
Jan learned about Simple Needs GA this past November after reading an East Cobb News article about Brenda winning East Cobb Citizen of the Year. A longtime supporter of MUST Ministries, Jan was looking for a new outlet for volunteering. “I knew Simple Needs GA was the right place for me,” she said.
Jan has purchased gifts for our Spirit of Christmas children, donated household items for our Simple Household Needs clients and continues to hone her no-sew skills. “Now my craft room looks like Joann Fabrics,” she said.
Stacy “Mac” McIlwain, one of SNGA’s core coordinators and volunteers, has been impressed by Jan’s commitment. “Jan makes it sound like she does nothing out of the ordinary,” Mac said. “Not so. If a teenager likes a specific sports team, she will find the team fleece to make the no-sew blanket. For older teens, she purchases plaid and subtle prints and makes the blankets larger. She’s amazing!”
In addition to supporting MUST Ministries, Jan dedicated seven years as a volunteer for a nonprofit, three-day music festival that raised more than $300,000 for a Florida neonatal intensive care unit and a women’s recovery program. Since 2018 was the festival’s last year, Jan now has more time for volunteering.
“I’ll continue making blankets and shopping for deals to donate whatever is on the SGNA needed list,” Jan said. “My husband and I have enough stuff.”
How can you help? “We need fleece that would appeal to tweens and teens,” Jan says. “That could be sports like football, basketball or soccer or superheroes such as The Avengers, Black Panther or Spiderman. Blue is popular, and pink and purple for girls go pretty fast. Gift cards to Joann Fabrics would great, too.”
Thanks again, Jan! (Or should we say Blanket Lady?) 😀
THANKS TO COBB COUNTY MOCHA MOMS!
The members of Cobb County Mocha Moms recently restocked school supplies for our My Birthday Matters program in one fell swoop!
About 23 members of the group, which provides support, friendship and love for women of color in Cobb and Northwest Georgia, donated a huge amount of books, pencils, crayons, markers, pens, backpacks, glue sticks, highlighters and more for our MBM birthday packages. Other items, all of which were delivered on May 18, included underwear, socks, sports equipment and character toys.
My Birthday Matters serves homeless schoolchildren in Cobb County who are celebrating their birthdays. Brittany Ingram [PICTURED], Volunteer Coordinator for Cobb County Mocha Moms, said MBM’s mission truly resonated with members of the 501(C)3 nonprofit. “As a group of all mothers, this really touched our hearts,” she said.
Over the past couple of years, members of the group have given back to their community through volunteer projects such as partnering with MUST Ministries on a sandwich-making drive; beautifying local schools; running a donation drive for the My Sister’s House shelter; and even holding a fashion show for nursing home A.G. Rhodes Health & Rehab.
“We cannot thank these dynamic and inspiring women enough for their support of My Birthday Matters and Simple Needs GA,” Brenda said. “If you’re looking to connect with other mothers, make new friends and give back to your community, check out Cobb County Mocha Moms!”
For more information, visit their website and/or Facebook page.
LOVE CONNECTION (POINTE)!
Once again, Connection Pointe Christian Academy has come through for Simple Needs GA’s clients! About 120 students at the Austell private school, which serves children from six weeks old up to the eighth grade, raised nearly $670 at the end of the quarter and then went shopping, via Amazon.com and Walmart, for the specific needs of our clients.
Around this time last year, the students raised about $500 for gift cards, brand-new household items, shoes and more. It is all part of a lesson plan of sorts by first-grade teacher Valerie High, who is keen on making sure the children understand the value of service. The monies, she explains, are actually their offerings brought in for Connection Pointe Christian Academy’s Wednesday Chapel time.
This year the offerings were used to provide our clients with books, toys, trashcans, DVD players, vacuums, tablet cases, rugs, blankets and other needed items. “The students simply loved the idea of being able to give to children and others who stand in need,” Valerie said.
Seeing children get involved this way is one of the greatest joys of being a part of Simple Needs GA, Brenda said. “Thanks so much to the students, to Valerie and to everyone at Connection Pointe Christian Academy!”
RECURRING DONATIONS – BE PART OF OUR SIMPLY CARING PROGRAM
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).”
You can use your credit card or a PayPal account for these donations. However, if you plan to routinely donate online to SNGA, you might consider signing up for a PayPal Giving Fund account. PayPal Giving Fund charges no fees to enrolled charities, so all of your donations will go to SNGA!
Of course, you could also just mail a monthly check to:
Simple Needs GA
P.O. Box 670265
Marietta, GA 30066
THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT OF PEOPLE IN NEED!