We wanted to express our heartfelt gratitude to SNGA volunteer and donor Connie Bergeron, who will be moving to South Carolina to be closer to family.
“Connie brings joy to the warehouse along with her donations,” said longtime SNGA volunteer Stacy “Mac” McIlwain. “Connie has interesting stories behind her donations, whether it’s a fantastic sale, or things she can’t imagine living without. She truly believes that everyone is worthy of dignity.”
Connie, who lives in East Cobb, found out about us by using the online search tool for Hands on Atlanta Day in 2015. Her contributions as a volunteer, as well as those of her husband Ron, have been extremely helpful for a host of SNGA programs, including My Birthday Matters, Spirit of Christmas and Simple Household Needs, said Brenda Rhodes, SNGA President and Founder.
“Ron has helped us by volunteering on Hands on Atlanta Days and doing things like putting shelving together at our Marietta warehouse,” Brenda said. “And in addition to Connie’s enthusiasm and commitment, her organizational skills have been invaluable.”
A Certified Meeting Professional, Connie runs Site Selection Solutions, Inc. The global business requires keen attention to detail: It’s responsible for the site-selection and contractual negotiations of more than 200 meetings annually on behalf of corporate clients and trade and nonprofit associations.
In addition to sorting and organizing donations at the warehouse, Connie says she has greatly enjoyed working with children during our volunteer days.
“One of my absolute favorites is when groups come in and they have children with them and I get to encourage the young people to write birthday cards for My Birthday Matters,” she said. “I’ll get them organized with construction paper, stickers, crayons and markers—and help proof their spelling! I really enjoy the creativity and the colorful works of their imagination. I have done that for hours at a time. It is very fun.”
But Connie has also made big contributions to our Simple Household Needs program by walking the aisles of Walmart and other stores to find bargains on kitchen trash cans, new pots and pans, bed and bath linens and other items needed by these clients.
In addition, Connie has written vast quantities of SNGA holiday greeting and donor thank-you cards and has supported the work of fellow SNGA volunteers like Jan Lazzara, who makes hundreds of no-sew blankets for the My Birthday Matters children. “I wanted to support her efforts, because what Jan does is really remarkable, it was a pleasure to give her a gift card to JoAnne’s for the materials for 30 or 40 blankets,” Connie said.
Connie and Ron have volunteered their time and energy with several other community organizations including Family Promise of Cobb County. Connie served on Hands on Atlanta’s board from 2012 to 2019, and she and Ron are 36-year members of St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church in Marietta.
“We’re active volunteers with St. Catherine’s,” Connie said. “When times are normal, we greet, usher, serve coffee, lemonade and cookies, do altar guild and bake communion bread. I coordinate the church’s involvement most years with the Atlanta Community Food Bank’s Hunger Walk/Run, as well as the church’s involvement with the Cobb Interfaith Habitat Coalition. This year CIHC celebrates 20 years of building Habitat homes with a perfect motto, ‘We Build to Coexist, We Coexist to Build.’”
In addition, Connie and Ron are longtime volunteers with MUST Ministries. “On the 28th of every month for about the past 35 years, we have coordinated dinner for about 70 residents of the homeless shelter along with great volunteers from St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church, with special thanks to Tracy Buckalew, my co-chair,” Connie said.
About seven years ago, Connie started St. Catherine’s ministry of providing dinner for The Extension women’s center on the third Sunday of each month. “Marlene and Lee Stuart and Deborah Weigel with St. Catherine’s have assumed coordination of those dinners, and Ron and I provide meals once a quarter. It is a wonderful team effort.”
Making friends with volunteers and board members has been one of the upsides of volunteering for SNGA, Connie says. “I can’t tell you what an honor it has been to get to know Brenda. She is one of the most inspiring leaders of a nonprofit I have ever seen. Her dedication to finding a vehicle for meeting such a wide variety of people’s needs is astonishing.”
Thanks so much once again to Connie and Ron for their amazing support of SNGA!
“We’re sorry to hear that Connie and Ron are moving and will miss their kind spirit,” Brenda said, “but we wish them all the best in this new chapter in their lives.”