When Pastor Jamey Dickens kicked off the first Be Rich campaign at East Cobb Church, he wasn’t sure how successful it would be. People were still dealing with the pandemic, he reasoned, and the economy was tanking.
The church had chosen Simple Needs GA as the beneficiary of the annual drive, which gets its name from 1 Timothy 6:18 (“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”).
The goal of the fundraising portion was to help SNGA with a perennial challenge: Our volunteers often had to scramble to find a way to get much-needed furniture and household items to our clients in Cobb County. “We were hoping to be able to buy Simple Needs GA a used pickup truck,” Dickens noted.
He and Katie Peters, a pastoral counselor at East Cobb Church who coordinated the campaign, asked East Cobb Church’s roughly 800 members to each donate at least $39.95.
The outpouring of generosity that followed was enough to buy much more than a used pickup truck.
On October 23, East Cobb Church delivered a brand-new, 16-foot GMC Savana box truck to Simple Needs GA.
“It was absolutely full of the toiletries and other useful items that we put in our Comfort Kits—probably 3,000 items in all,” said Brenda Rhodes, SNGA founder and president. “On top of that, East Cobb Church made a financial donation that will cover the cost of insurance and maintenance for the vehicle for its entire lifetime!”
[See the bottom of this post for some reactions from SNGA board members and volunteers.]
The gift means that SNGA will no longer need to spend large sums on renting box trucks, and it gives our Simple Household Needs volunteers much more capacity for picking up and delivering furniture as needed, Brenda noted. “We’ve already been making pickups and deliveries with the truck,” she said. “Being more efficient will allow us to help many more people over time.”
SNGA has chosen not to publish the exact monetary value of the donation, but it’s fair to say that it runs into the tens of thousands of dollars. “The money just came pouring in,” Dickens said. “We couldn’t believe it.”
Not bad for a church that started less than a year ago—in January 2020, to be exact.
East Cobb Church is one of eight churches in metro Atlanta that belong to North Point Ministries. It grew out of East Cobb Gathering, a community and service organization founded by Peters in 2014.
Already deeply involved in community service, members of East Cobb Church were well aware of the disproportionate effects of the pandemic on the poor and were eager to answer the call when the Be Rich campaign was launched, Dickens said.
“Our people deserve a major shout out and so does Katie, who did a fantastic job leading this effort,” he said. “We’re grateful, too, for how God has led and moved in our church.”
The Be Rich campaign, which was launched by North Point Ministries in 1995, has three components: Give, Serve and Love. “In addition to the financial piece, we also wanted our people to have something they could physically do,” Peters said. “We had 250 or 260 people who took that step of gathering goods, and then we had a drive-through where they dropped off the Comfort Kits supplies for us to organize and take over to Simple Needs GA.”
Peters and Dickens learned about SNGA from our longtime supporters Joanna and Charles Pinkham. “The Pinkhams have been a huge help over the years, but they may have outdone themselves this time,” Brenda said. “We can’t thank them enough for their support!”
As Dickens sees it, the successful campaign illustrates the power of people coming together as a community to help others.
“I loved that it was a very large group effort,” he said. “The ask was just basic, but people stepped up and did what they could—and look at what happened. People give where their heart is engaged.”
Hearts at Simple Needs GA were touched as well, Brenda said.
“All of us at SNGA were—and continue to be—absolutely astounded at this act of kindness and community concern,” she said. “It is by far the largest donation we have ever received as an organization and it comes at a time when our clients are in unprecedented need.”
“I am speechless. This gift is really a blessing. We have been discussing a truck option for years but it has been delayed based on the up front cost. I know this will have a significant impact on our furniture transportation budget. Think about how many times SGNA has had to rent a truck and pay $$$ for every mile the truck was used!” –Phil
“In these difficult times, it is great to have the support of this church to help our cause. I am excited to see how many more lives Simple Needs GA will impact by this generous gift. What a great boost for SGNA and for the community that we serve!” –Russ
“This is fantastic! What a generous contribution to a very worthy cause! To the least of these.” —Sandy
“Who says prayers don’t get answered? Mountains don’t get moved? Thank you one, thank you all for your works and your serving hearts! May God bless you all abundantly.” ❤️ –Nancy
“Wow, I’m speechless! We’re so fortunate to live in a community of generous supporters who value our work and want to help us help others. Please pass along my sincere thanks to the East Cobb Church family. We will make them proud by using this truck to bring comfort to many more deserving families!” –-Yolanda
“Wow, Brenda! When you said the church was getting us a truck, I didn’t understand it would be a NEW truck!!! This is so amazing! After renting so many U-Hauls over the years, it’s going to be surreal to have our very own vehicle – to use whenever it’s needed!!! I don’t think I have enough words to thank them…” –Diana
“Thank you to all the members of the East Cobb Church. Your generosity is extraordinary. This truck has been only a dream for years!” –Stella
“What fantastic news! A real blessing to be able to help more folks realize their goal of furniture/household supplies for their family.” –Elaine
Please pass along a heartfelt thanks to all members of the parish for their generous gifts. Since Simple Needs GA is a community charity, all gifts provide benefits to our local neighbors. –Alicia