We need candles for our clients. Here’s why.

Most of us have a few unused candles lying around in our homes. Did you know that candles are actually one of the items people who live in the woods need the most?

At Simple Needs GA, our supply of candles to distribute to people who live in the woods is running quite low. If you have extra candles at home or would be willing to buy some for us, our clients would greatly appreciate them! Consider suggesting a candle drive to your place of worship, school, business, book club, Girl or Boy Scout troop. Now happens to be a great time: You can really get good deals on candles thanks to after-Christmas sales. Just about any candle will do other than tea lights. The best candles are pillar and tapered.burning_candle_01

Why are candles so important?

People living in the woods have a difficult time keeping raccoons, rats and other critters from getting into their tents at night. (I sometimes joke that raccoons know how to work a tent zipper!) Believe it or not, a burning candle or two will keep a tent rodent-free. In addition to emitting light, candles are also a surprisingly good heat source. Their warm glow is reassuring–a bit like having a little campfire inside your tent.

But of course, they don’t last all that long. People living in the woods tend to burn through them very quickly.

And the need is great: Hundreds of people shelter in tents in Cobb County. You might not see them because they deliberately pitch camp in wooded places that are out of view from the road. But most likely, when you drive up a ramp to I-75, someone is living close by. The circumstances in which these folks live can vary tremendously: Some work regular jobs and have spent years cultivating clean, safe camps. But a great many others have next to nothing–maybe a tent, sleeping bag and a few other possessions–and face all kinds of uncertainties and challenges.

To donate candles to our Simply Sheltered program, bring them by our space on the third Saturday of the month between 10 and 1. For the address, email me at brenda@simpleneedsga.org.

Our Simply Sheltered program also provides tents, sleeping bags, blankets, pillows and other essential items to people living in the woods. In the winter, we collect and distribute underwear, hats, gloves, scarves and other cold-weather items. In fact, we’re running low on blankets right now and could use some more blankets, for sure!

If you’d like to make a financial contribution to help Simply Sheltered, just click this link!
You could also mail a check to:
Simple Needs GA
P.O. Box 670265
Marietta, GA 30066

All your contributions to our 501(c) 3 non-profit organization are tax-deductible. Any support is greatly appreciated and will help us improve the lives of those who are struggling.

Thanks so much for your support 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!

Kroger Community Rewards–time to re-enroll!

kroger_community_rewardsGreetings, all.

Last year, Simple Needs GA (SNGA) joined Kroger Community Rewards. This program allows Kroger shoppers to support our mission each time they use their Kroger Plus cards. However, shoppers must re-enroll each year–and now’s the time! Just go to: www.krogercommunityrewards.com! The enrollment period ends on Aug. 31.

If you haven’t already signed up for the program, please consider doing so. You get to keep all of your current Kroger Plus rewards and discounts, and lose nothing at all. Instead, whenever you use your Kroger Rewards card, the company makes a small donation to SNGA.

When you enroll or re-enroll, just enter Simple Needs GA (code 29265) as the organization you wish to support.

If you do not have a Kroger Plus card, it only takes a few minutes to get one. You can stop by any Kroger store and fill out a short application. Kroger will give you the card immediately.

For more information on the Kroger Community Rewards program, visit https://www.kroger.com/article/kroger-community-rewards-3.

Thanks for all you do to help 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!

Simple Needs GA salutes the Girl Scouts!

Greetings, all.
I wanted to let you know about the inspiring support Simple Needs GA (SNGA) has received over the past few months from local Girl Scout troops!

It started in January at a badge-a-thon event organized by local Girl Scout leaders and volunteers. At the event, a group of Daisy Girl Scouts (kindergarten and first grade) put together gift bags for SNGA’s My Birthday Matters program, which brings brand-new toys, school supplies, a no-sew blanket, underwear and socks, and other useful items to homeless schoolchildren celebrating their birthdays. About 200 Girl Scouts showed up for the day of fun, learning, sisterhood and earning badges.

Linda Vogt GS donations Feb 2015-2
Linda and Elisabeth Vogt

Then in March, Brownie troop 14404, which includes children from Marietta’s Devon Oaks subdivision, cohosted a cookie booth and lemonade stand, with proceeds donated to SNGA.

In April, Girl Scout Troop 14435 (from Still Elementary in Powder Springs) gave yet another boost to My Birthday Matters: “The girls were excited to give away small gifts to put a smile on the face of another child who may not be as fortunate as they are,” wrote parents Mandy Harris and Lisa Hendrix, in an email to SNGA. “They learned about the needs of homeless families in the community and found it particularly interesting that some people live in tents because they do not have homes. They were thoughtful as they considered the fact that some kids, possibly in their own class at school, leave school with no food to eat for dinner or no real place of their own to sleep.”

Also in April, a group of almost 35 Girl Scouts from the kudzu service unit gathered for a community service lock-in at a local church where the activities included making 25 no-sew or fleece-tie blankets for SNGA’s My Birthday Matters program.

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Girl Scout Troop 13412! 😀

During the lock-in, I had the opportunity to talk with the Girl Scouts about the various programs SNGA offers. The group included members of Daisy Troop 14409, Brownie Troop 14404, Junior Troop 13413, and Cadette Troop 2401.

Linda Vogt, co-leader of Brownie Troop 14404, learned about SNGA during this past Christmas season. “Elisabeth, my 2nd-grade daughter, and I were inspired by the organization’s dedication to helping families and children in need,” Linda said. “Elisabeth asked if she could make some blankets for My Birthday Matters. What started as something just the two of us worked on during winter break quickly became a crafty activity for Elisabeth and some of her friends. I’m so proud to watch Elisabeth and her sister scouts strive to make the world a better place and to help families in need by supporting SNGA.”

Thanks again to the Girl Scouts for all their help. I’ll definitely be buying some cookies this year!--Brenda Rhodes
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‘A Moving Gesture’: TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® gears up to help Simple Needs GA!

two-men-truckMoving is no simple task. In addition to muscle power, it requires valuable commodities such as time, a good sense of direction, skill in driving an oversized truck and — perhaps trickiest of all — the ability to coordinate pickups and deliveries among multiple parties with hectic schedules.

This is precisely why picking up donations and delivering the items to people in need is one of the biggest challenges we face at Simple Needs GA (SNGA).

So we were absolutely thrilled recently when Robyn Christopher, Marietta Sales Manager for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, called us out of the blue to offer the company’s services for free! Over the past few weeks, Robyn’s team has helped SNGA’s Simple Household Needs program pick up sofas, lamps, tables, beds, chairs, and more from our generous donors and deliver them straight to people in need or to our storage unit.

“We strive to team up with local 501(c)(3) organizations to help out in any way we can,” Robyn said. “The owner of our franchise has multiple locations within the state of Georgia, and all of the sales managers at these locations regularly work with nonprofits.”

In fact, it’s all part of a company-wide trend. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchisees all over the country frequently dedicate both time and money to area charities, though it’s not a requirement, said Robyn.

two-men-and-a-truck-logo“The founder of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, Mary Ellen Sheets, has spent her entire life volunteering and is a longtime supporter of many organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, United Way of America, and the YMCA,” Robyn said. “When she started the company 30 years ago, Sheets and her sons made a $1,000 profit in the first year. They decided to give it all away in the form of $100 donations to 10 different local charities. Giving is a huge part of the company culture, which is part of what attracted me to TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®.”

Robyn’s team plans to continue helping SNGA with pickups and deliveries as scheduling permits. We can’t thank them enough!

Donor Spotlight: Wells Fargo gives back

Did you know that over the past six years Wells Fargo has given more than $1.5 million to nonprofit groups in Georgia through its “Days of Giving” campaign? On Oct. 29, we at Simple Needs GA (SNGA) were honored to receive a $1,000 grant from the bank at a celebration in Marietta. All told, the bank’s team members recognized some 240 other groups across metro Atlanta as part of the program.

Wells Fargo Area President Jim Lawrence led the ceremony. “To some a $1,000 grant may seem small, but we know each of these great groups will be able to make a huge difference with this,” he said. “And collectively this will have a major impact in our community.”

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Brenda Rhodes (left) and Michelle Lee

Through the program, Wells Fargo branch managers nominate nonprofits in their communities. Michelle Lee, manager of the West Marietta branch at 761 Powder Springs St. Marietta, GA, nominated SNGA after reading about our work online.

When I got the call from Michelle, I was so excited. We can’t thank Michelle and Wells Fargo enough for making us a part of this program!

Wells Fargo’s Days of Giving benefits thousands of people across the United States, Michelle noted. “Our branch managers look to recognize local groups that are strong on community involvement,” she said. “Sometimes we even build longer-term relationships with these groups. For example, my team is now eager to come out and do some volunteer work with SNGA.”

A big thanks to Wells Fargo for supporting untold thousands of people in need over the past six years!

–Brenda Rhodes