Category Archives: Events

Discovering the joy of service

On April 29, students at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School marked a day of service and prayer in honor of the school’s namesake by donating their time and (abundant!) energy to Simple Needs GA’s My Birthday Matters program as well as programs of organizations such as MUST Ministries.

Students at St. Catherine’s

SNGA founder Brenda Rhodes visited the school, located in Kennesaw, to help the children better understand the need in our community. She also told them about SNGA and its My Birthday Matters program, which brings brand-new toys, school supplies, a no-sew blanket, a stuffed animal, reading books, coloring books, underwear, socks, and other useful items to homeless schoolchildren celebrating their birthdays.

SNGA works in collaboration with counselors and social workers in the Marietta City and Cobb County (Powder Springs area) school systems to identify those children who are considered homeless. It also helps children living in local shelters such as MUST Ministries, Family Promise of Cobb and LiveSafe Resources and provide birthday gifts to the children of our furniture clients.

As Brenda explained during her visit St. Catherine’s, the goal of the program is to bring more self-esteem and joy to local children by helping their families make their birthday wishes come true. As part of the feast day, the third graders made My Birthday Matters care packages that included backpacks, crayons, markers, stickers, erasers, coloring books and handmade birthday cards. Fourth graders made fleece blankets. Throughout the day, eighth graders served as leaders and helped the younger kids understand why what they were doing was important.

“All items were donated by our generous families and were collected throughout the week,” explained Avion C. Anderson, who volunteers with SNGA and whose son attends St. Catherine’s.

“It was a joy to speak with the children and hear their insightful questions,” Brenda said. “We really appreciate the school’s commitment to teaching their kids about needs in our community. The projects they worked on will really make a difference for our families and their children!”

According to Sister Mary Jacinta, O.P., Principal of St. Catherine’s, the students always put their hearts into the various service projects on Siena Day. “It is an awesome experience for children to see that, when each of them brings in a small donation, together they can make a big difference in the lives of many people,” she said. “Our students also enjoyed being able to offer a personal message to the recipients of the donations—we believe it is extremely important for our children to add a part of themselves, so to speak, to the material donations which they were offering.”

In addition to direct financial contributions in support of this program so we can buy kids’ specific requests, My Birthday Matters needs a steady supply of new toys, sporting equipment and other fun and useful items to support the needs of program recipients. See our Needed Items and SignUp Genius pages for more details.

We are seeking volunteers and committee members for MBM. For more information, email brenda@SimpleNeedsGA.org.

 

 

Spring has Sprung–and So has SNGA’s Need for Donations!

“I want to say thank you for the gifts for my daughter. This year, I had gotten into a financial snag and wasn’t able to provide anything for her. With this program, I was able to give something to make her smile on her birthday, and that makes Mommy smile! I hope this program stays alive for more families. Everyone needs that little bit of help and I am very thankful.”
– mom whose child received presents through SNGA’s My Birthday Matters program.

The Taylor Family dropping off donation drive items.

NEXT DONATION DRIVE: SAT., APRIL 15, 10 A.M. TO 1 P.M.
We hope you’ll consider stopping by our Marietta warehouse on Sat., April 15, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to be a part of our monthly donation drive/volunteer day.

Your new or gently used donations can make a big difference. Our greatest needs right now are microwaves, pots and pans, trash cans, twin/full/queen/king blankets and comforters, toasters, air mattresses, computers (laptop or desktop), grocery plastic bags (to be made into sleeping mats for the homeless), vacuum cleaners, gaming systems, DVD players, and smaller kitchen essentials such as measuring cups and can openers.
For a full list of items that our clients need, please click here.

We also need gently used (no damage or stains) non-sleeper sofas, dressers, mattresses/box springs (especially four xl twin box springs to go with two king mattresses in our inventory), small desks, washers/dryers (no front loaders) and other furniture. Please send photos to Brenda@simpleneedsga.org if you have any of these items to donate; we will arrange for drop off or pick up.

OPEN HOUSE: Sat., April 29, 2017
We’re having our Open House on April 29 and would be thrilled if you could join us.
Drop by our Marietta warehouse that Saturday any time between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. We’ll be giving tours, while talking about our programs and what you can do to help our families. Some clients will be there to share their stories with you. And, of course, we will have some yummy snacks available.

If you have friends or colleagues who have expressed interest in our mission, it’s a great time to bring them by to learn more about how our work benefits people in need in our community.

Amanda Braman

SIMPLY AWESOME DONORS/VOLUNTEERS!
Amanda Braman (left) requested donations to SNGA in lieu of gifts for her 14th birthday! She requested items from our most needed wish list for our programs Comfort Kits, Shoe Them Love, Simple Household Needs and My Birthday Matters! Thanks so much to Amanda and her mom Therese!
We were also inspired by the generosity of the Taylor family (pictured above). Sarah Taylor contacted Brenda about needed items for SNGA’s My Birthday Matters program and expressed a desire to help throughout the year. One of her first acts was to get family, friends and even her sons’ teachers to provide some of the most needed items that children receive in their My Birthday Matters backpacks.

These items include markers, crayons, colored pencils, pens, erasers, glue sticks, and rulers. Each child also receives between four and five new books to read. Sarah’s brother donated the two complete sets of Harry Potter books that her sons are holding in the picture.

We also wanted to give heartfelt “shout outs” to a couple of the (many) groups and companies that have helped us lately:

Liberal Moms of Roswell and Cobb created an Amazon.com wish list for our clients based on the top needs we list on our site. “They donated so much, including sets of popular books that are in high demand among our birthday kids, and some great character toys,” Brenda said. “Thanks so much!”

Atlanta-based First Data Corp., a global payment solutions technology company, donated a large amount of cleaning supplies and assembled 25 cleaning kits (new laundry baskets filled with things like paper towels, glass cleaner, Spic & Span, laundry detergent and a lot more). What a huge help for our Simple Household Needs program! First Data employees volunteered on a Saturday afternoon. “They assembled the kits, among other activities. They were just an incredible group,” Brenda said. “We’ve distributed many of the kits since then; our clients love them!”

‘FILLING IN THE GAPS’—ONE CLIENT AT A TIME
As a smaller, community-based nonprofit, Simple Needs GA could never be a “one-stop shop” for all of its clients’ needs. And yet, when your friends and neighbors come together to serve a common goal, amazing things can happen.

Take the family of five that recently contacted us for help.

“We relocated to Cobb County after our family went through foreclosure,” the mom explained. “We lost everything we had in our storage unit after not being able to pay for it.”

Dad eventually found work, and the family was able to move into an apartment, but its large rooms were starkly empty. In late March, our tireless volunteers brought her a king-sized mattress and box springs, two full mattresses and box springs, and a table and chairs. The boys were so excited to have beds so they didn’t have to sleep on the floor any longer.

Brenda later met the mom at our space. “She picked out gifts for both boys’ birthdays which included some of the great books recently donated,” Brenda said. “She also received a cleaning kit, mop and broom—she was very excited about the broom because she just had a hand-held one that was nearly useless—and was able to find plenty of items the family needed from our household room. We gave them hygiene items, underwear and socks. On April 8, more furniture was delivered to them.”

Thanks to your amazing generosity, we are so proud to be able to “fill in the gaps” by offering programs that truly do uplift our clients and make their lives easier and more comfortable.

Thanks for all you do for Simple Needs GA!

Simple Needs GA low on donated items. Drive is tomorrow, Aug. 20!

“I asked a church for some pots and pans and am now receiving so much more!”

Earlier this summer a single mom with a young daughter and a teenage son went to a local church and asked for some pots and pans so she could cook for her children. The church referred this family, which had been staying in a homeless shelter to escape an abuser, to Simple Needs GA. They were overjoyed at having successfully rented a house, but were nonetheless sleeping on one mattress loaned to them by their landlord.

In fact, the place was nearly empty. “When we ran away, we left everything we had,” the woman explained to Brenda Rhodes, SNGA’s founder. “At one point, my son didn’t have shoes.”

Brenda invited the family to visit SNGA’s Marietta warehouse. “We are just a perfect resource for a family in this kind of situation,” Brenda said.

Over and over again, Brenda and our volunteers have watched clients visit the warehouse and cry after realizing they will be taking home things like linens, towels, pillows, silverware, pots and pans, small appliances, lamps, books, underwear, toiletries, TVs, microwaves and even gaming systems.

“Often our clients will fill up their cars and just be in disbelief,” Brenda said. “And of course, SNGA volunteers like Yolanda, Danielle and Jay are always working overtime to pick up and deliver beds, sofas, chairs and tables to these families as well.”

The goal is to bring more comfort and dignity into clients’ lives, Brenda says. “Sometimes we forge longer-term relationships with families and help them in other ways as well,” she said. “For example, SNGA is now bringing its My Birthday Matters program to the children of furniture recipients.” The mom described above has already given Brenda a birthday wish list for her daughter. Meanwhile, with the help of other agencies, SNGA is working to get this family the clothes they need, too.

In support of this mission, SNGA’s next donation drive and volunteer day is Sat., Aug. 20, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at our Marietta warehouse. We hope you can drop by and volunteer or just bring some new or gently used donations. Please note that we are running quite low on donated items and could really use your help!

A great way to find out about specific needed items is to visit our SignUp Genius page. Some specific needs for children’s birthdays are here. We have also updated our online list of needed items here.

If you don’t have time to shop for new items or to gather gently used ones from around your house, gift cards can be a quick-and-easy option. “If you check the SignUp Genius page, you’ll see that we usually have a need for gift cards to places like Walmart or GameStop,” Brenda said. “These are a huge help for our clients.”

Just email brenda@simpleneedsga.org to get the address for Saturday. If you have furniture, please email about that as well so we can discuss the details (and please include photos).

BIG THANKS TO RACETRAC
We just wanted to give a “shout out” to the volunteers from locally based RaceTrac, known for its more than 600 RaceTrac and RaceWay stores around the Southeast.image3

On a recent Saturday, a great group of around 25 interns plus a team leader from RaceTrac’s corporate office spent a few hours at our Marietta warehouse putting together Comfort Kits, as well as assembling no-sew blankets for our My Birthday Matters program.

“The volunteers worked very hard the entire time they were there, despite the heat!” Brenda said. “Residents of local homeless shelters love the Comfort Kits; they contain all the hygiene items they might need plus some other useful items. And the blankets are one of the many items the kids receive as a recipient of our My Birthday Matters program. So the efforts of these volunteers will be felt directly by our clients. Thanks so much!”

image1Kristen Gittings, RaceTrac’s Associate Manager, Events & Branding, said the experience was amazing. “Our team loved being able to lend a hand to Simple Needs GA and take a break from our normal day-to-day,” she said. “We love giving back to the community any way that we can. We wish we had more time to create more Comfort Kits, no-sew blankets and making birthdays special. We can’t wait to come back next summer!”

SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS: TIME TO START PLANNING!
c8e39e82-0301-41b0-8f19-61662e6c95a5Our new Spirit of Christmas program aims to “fill in the gaps” by helping families that were unable to register for other local programs such as the MUST Toy Shop, Cobb Christmas or Toys for Tots. However, it’s a big job that requires a lot of coordination. “We want to make this year’s program run even more efficiently by doing some advance planning,” explains SNGA Founder Brenda Rhodes. “Ideally, this will enable us to help even more families this Christmas.”

If you’d like to join us and help plan for the holiday season, just email brenda@simpleneedsga.org.

ARTICLE IN GA STATE HOMES
Thanks to Amy Lee and Elisha Neubauer of Georgia State Homes, a full-service brokerage firm serving all of Georgia, for writing about Simple Needs GA on the company’s website. Check it out!

RECURRING DONATIONS (‘SIMPLY CARING’)
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).”

Of course, you could also just mail a monthly check to:

Simple Needs GA
P.O. Box 670265
Marietta, GA 30066

A note on gift-matching: By some estimates, 65 percent of Fortune 500 companies match donations made by their employees. This can be a fantastic way to increase the impact of your donation. Consider contacting your employer’s HR department to find out about any available matching programs.

Lastly, we’re part of the Kroger Community Rewards program. It’s time for shoppers to re-enroll. Click here to learn more about this neat way to contribute to SNGA each time you use your Kroger Rewards card.kroger_community_rewards

Thanks for all you do for people in need!

Next donation drive is Sat., May 21

‘Thanks so much for the toiletries. We greatly appreciate and use them daily. It makes us feel special—like being at a hotel! God bless you all and keep you.’ – thank-you letter signed by nine guests at a local shelter who received Simple Needs GA Comfort Kits.

 

‘Thanks for all the help with my children’s birthdays! It brought them so much joy. My son wasn’t really going to get a good birthday this year due to financial issues. God bless all who made this possible!’ – mom of children helped by Simple Needs GA’s My Birthday Matters program.

Greetings, everyone!
Can you believe summer is almost here? It’s a perfect time to do a final round of spring-cleaning. You can bring gently used items to our monthly donation drive on Sat., May 21, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at our Marietta warehouse. Of course, you could also head to the store and pick up some new items for people in need as well. A great way to find out about specific needed items is to visit our SignUp Genius page. We have also updated our online list of needed items here.volunteer_final

We’ve been helping quite a few families with furniture and household items lately. We’re running low on kitchen and bath essentials, in particular.

Just email me at brenda@simpleneedsga.org to get the address for Saturday.

If you have a large piece of furniture, please email me about that as well so we can discuss the details (and please include photos).

Thanks for your help of people in need!

Support Simple Needs GA on Georgia Gives Day (Nov. 12)!

GGD2015_logo_web_495x630px(1)Greetings, all.
The fourth-annual Georgia Gives Day will take place on Thurs., Nov. 12. In case you’re not familiar with it, it’s a statewide online fundraiser geared toward helping Georgia nonprofits bolster their fundraising and awareness. Since 2012, Georgia Gives Day has raised about $5.2 million for nonprofits across the state!

We hope you’ll consider supporting Simple Needs GA! Just click here to make a donation through the Georgia Gives Day site.

You can give on any day of the year, but there’s an advantage to giving on Nov. 12: Each year, the campaign runs prize competitions throughout the day–Power Hours, Golden Tickets, leaderboards and more. Your gift on Nov. 12 could put SNGA in the running for incentives that boost our fundraising even more.

The point, of course, is to help even more people in need. We are absolutely thrilled to be able to grow programs such as SNGA’s My Birthday Matters, which provides birthday gifts to homeless kids. Not long ago, we got this message from one of the counselors at the YWCA of Northwest Georgia:

Hey, Brenda! The mom just called me about the gift I just gave her. They are both ecstatic! She said the shorts fit and that her daughter went nuts when she opened the basketball that was blue and black, since blue is her favorite color. She almost cried when she opened the book. The mom said ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you so much!’DOC003

Or this message from one of our awesome volunteers:

Recently my 12-year-old daughter and I delivered birthday gifts to a 17-year-old boy as part of Simple Needs GA’s My Birthday Matters program for homeless kids. I can’t even describe how much it moved both of us to see the happiness in the faces of the birthday boy and his mother. Just being able to give this boy and his mother a small sense of ‘normal’ in a very difficult time was incredible. I’m so thankful there are organizations like Simple Needs GA out there. They help provide those in need with the very simple things many of us take for granted,and they treat all of their clients with the dignity and respect they deserve. No judgment, just kindness and compassion. Thanks, Simple Needs GA, for all you do!

And thanks to you for helping people in need!

Our biggest donation day yet!

Hi, everyone.
As you might know, Simple Needs GA has been collecting in-kind donations once a month at our Marietta warehouse. These are great opportunities to volunteer as well by doing things like putting together our Comfort Kits for people checking into local shelters, or sorting in-kind donations of household items, new toys, school uniforms and more.

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A few volunteers from Saturday.

On Sat., July 18, we had the busiest Donation Drive to date! Typically, we get just a few donations (sometimes none), but on Saturday we had ten generous donors bring in a wide variety of useful and uplifting donations for people in need. (The pic at left is just a few of the folks who came by. A special thanks to Sandy, in particular, who continues to show inspiring dedication to SNGA!)

Our warehouse lacks air conditioning, so these stalwart volunteers are also to be thanked for their willingness to sweat! Do your donations of gently used items and clothing really make a difference? Absolutely. During the donation day, for example, one of our furniture clients came to pick up dishes, linens, a TV set and more. She was thrilled when she left our warehouse with so many needed items for her family. Thanks so much to those who helped her pick out what she needed!

Our monthly donation days are held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the third Saturday of each month. If you have items in good condition that we can use for our specific programs, or would just like to volunteer, please join us. Email info@simpleneedsga.org for our address and any other information you need. Find out more about our current needs by visiting our wish list.

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Stuffed animals for My Birthday Matters.

And of course, we’re always in need of direct financial contributions to fund our programs. In celebration of our 5th anniversary, in fact, we’re hoping to add 50 new members to Simply Caring, our monthly giving program, over the next five months. Joining is easy. Just click the donate button below to make a PayPal donation and then select “Make This Recurring (Monthly)”!

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If paying online is not your thing, we do accept snail mail! You can mail a check each month to the following address:

Simple Needs GA
P.O. Box 670265
Marietta, GA 30066.

If you prefer to donate by check, just email us at info@simpleneedsga.org so that we can count you as one of our wonderful Simply Caring members.

Thanks for your support of people in need!

SNGA’s winter drives: ‘Baby, it’s cold outside!’

“It’s the small things sometimes that make a difference. Love and compassion can be shown in so many ways. I want to thank you.”

Simple Needs GA received this kind note from a shelter resident who received a duffel bag of full-size toiletries via our Comfort Kits program. But, really, this is something SNGA hears all the time in many ways from those we help. As our name says, SNGA does simple things that make a big difference in people’s lives, whether they be for a child who just received his first pair of shoes ever via Shoe Them Love, or someone living in the woods who received essential items through our Simply Sheltered program.

“When I was down on my luck, the tent, tarp and sleeping bag were a blessing and helped me get through a tough winter. Now I have a job and an apartment, but I appreciate what you and your donors did for me when I needed it.”

Thank you for making a difference in people’s lives!
On Nov. 13, there’s a great opportunity for you to help us continue this work and put more smiles on faces: Simple Needs GA will participate in Georgia Gives Day, an annual event sponsored by the Georgia Center for Nonprofits in which people from across the state pull together to support organizations and causes they believe in.
We hope you’ll check out our Georgia Gives Day page and make a donation—and feel free to spread the word about SNGA’s participation in the event!
In other news, we wanted to thank the 65 volunteers–most from UCB and TSYS–who helped out at our Marietta warehouse on Hands on Atlanta Day, Oct. 18. These generous folks assembled Comfort Kits, wrapped presents, put together no-sew blankets for My Birthday Matters, and helped us with many other tasks. It was the most volunteers we have had at one time!We currently are helping some families who were previously homeless via our Simple Household Needs program; we’re hoping to find some donated beds/mattresses (or some funds to buy mattresses). Please let us know if you can help with that.
Lastly, our fall donation drives are in full swing. We’re collecting winter supplies for those who live in the woods, toys, children’s coats and other useful items at our Marietta warehouse on Sat., Nov. 15 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and again on Sat, Dec 6 from 12:30 to 3:00 p.m. For a list of all that we are collecting right now, click here. If you need our address or have any questions, please email us at info@simpleneedsga.org. (We do not generally publicize our address since we only can take donations on our donation drive days.)
We love giving tours of our space, so come on by on the dates and times above so we can show you around.Feel free to forward this email to your friends, family, or neighborhood and church groups. Visit our blog and our Facebook page for regular updates. More information about our programs is also available at SimpleNeedsGA.org.
Thanks for your support of people in need!