All of us shudder at the thought of our homes burning to the ground, but imagine what low-income families go through after they are suddenly displaced by a fire.
Over the the past few months in Marietta, 47 adults and 24 children were forced out of their homes by a blaze that destroyed 15 units at the now-condemned Marquis Place apartments, and another fire heavily damaged the Ashley Mill apartments, displacing all residents of the 90 percent-occupied building.
But thanks to your support of Simple Needs GA, some of these families received help in the form of cleaning kits provided through our new Simple Household Needs program. The kits included items that many of us take for granted, such as cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, toilet paper and other necessities. After assembling several dozen of the cleaning kits during a volunteer day at our warehouse, SNGA gave them to social workers in the Marietta school system, who distributed the kits to fire-displaced families with school-age children.
“With help from some great partners, we were able to provide some of these families with much-needed clothes, food and, thanks to Simple Needs GA, cleaning kits,” said social worker Kristin Hanfland. “It was nice to be able to add the cleaning kits to the food supplies we gave the families. Replacing, repairing and cleaning items can be a costly endeavor, and so the families were very appreciative to have the basic supplies needed to get started in their new locations.”
We occasionally assemble these kits during volunteer events at our warehouse in Marietta. For more information, email info@SimpleNeedsGA.org, or leave a note on our Facebook page. You can also support Simple Household Needs by making a financial contribution to SNGA. Each of the kits costs approximately $20, so a donation of just $100 can provide cleaning supplies to five families. To donate, use the PayPal link at SimpleNeedsGa.org, or send a check to:
Simple Needs GA, Inc.
P.O. Box 670265
Marietta, GA 30066
Thanks so much for your support of people in need!
When Milena Skollar handed a box of new shoes to a disadvantaged elementary school student, she was surprised at the little girl’s overjoyed response. “She opened it up in awe, as though I had just given her something precious,” recalls Skollar, a social worker in the Marietta school system. “She immediately took off her old shoes—they had holes on the bottom—and put on the new pair right there in the parking lot. Then she looked at us and said, ‘I am never taking these off!’ ”
Far too many children in Cobb County make do with hand-me-downs and never go to school with a new pair of clean, well-fitting shoes. But by donating gift cards from Walmart or Payless Shoes to Simple Needs GA’s “Shoe Them Love” program, you can give disadvantaged kids the uplifting experience of having new shoes of their own. Just a $25 gift card, in fact, will pay for shoes for a needy child.
When most of us think of the plight of the poor, we imagine what it would be like to be without food or to live in a car or a shelter. But Kristin Hanfland, a Marietta City Schools social worker, says new shoes are among those simple needs that struggling families often must do without. This is particularly true when they have suffered hardships such as losing a job or being made homeless as a result of an eviction or a fire.
“When families experience these hard times, the ‘extras’—shoes being one—often get put aside,” Hanfland says. “When the choice is, ‘Am I going to pay my rent/utilities or can I get my child a new pair of shoes?’ the immediate needs get prioritized. It’s not that these families don’t care that their children’s shoes are too small or have holes; they simply have to focus on keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table.”
Donating to Shoe Them Love can therefore help to ease the burdens of struggling parents. “It means they don’t have to feel badly for not being able to provide those ‘extras,’ ” Hanfland said.
New shoes also happen to make kids happy and boost their self-esteem. “In a perfect world, kids wouldn’t be judged on what they wear to school, but we know that is simply not always the case,” Hanfland explains. “Kids notice differences; they notice the kids whose shoes have holes; they notice the kids whose shoes are too dirty, too big, or too small.”
And as social workers see firsthand, the positive effects on the child’s mood can seem much larger than the gift itself. “It really can make a huge impact on a child,” Hanfland said. “Besides, it’s just fun! There’s nothing like a brand new, never-been-scuffed-up pair of shoes. How awesome it is to open a box, pull back the paper, and slide into a pair of shoes that are all yours! Brings a smile to my face just thinking about it.”
Hanfland and her colleagues will be working to identify kids who could benefit from Shoe Them Love during the 2013-2014 school year, which begins Aug. 7. Please consider buying $25 gift cards to Payless or Walmart and mailing them to:
Simple Needs GA, P.O. Box 670265, Marietta, GA 30066. You can also make a direct donation via Paypal at SimpleNeeedsGA.org. For more information, call 678-266-3344 or email info@SimpleNeedsGA.org
Thanks for your support of people in need!
Since June 2010, SNGA has provided duffel bags packed with shampoo, soap, deoderant, toothpaste, combs, dental floss and other items to thousands of new check-ins at a local emergency shelter. “The volunteers were a great help for us this weekend,” said SNGA founder Brenda Rhodes. “We had checked our storage space and were literally out of packed duffel bags for people in need. It would have taken one or two of us multiple hours to pack such a large number of bags ourselves. But the volunteers worked quickly and efficiently to pack 85 bags, which will make a real difference for the people who receive them. The volunteers did a great job of checking and rechecking the bags to make sure each one had all of items on the inventory sheet. Thanks again to JCC for all the help!”
Keep an eye out for more volunteer opportunities to come!
While SNGA board member Kevin Powell was glad to hear of the good things being done for Grady, Rhonda and Billy, he was also touched by the circumstances of their lives. “Grady, who was about 40 years old, had been living in his tent for three months about a quarter of a mile away from MUST,” Kevin recalled. “He said he was doing OK, but that he could really use one or two more blankets, and he sure could use some additional food. It was his birthday. He just seemed happy to be alive.
“Rhonda was married with two teenage boys, ages 13 and 14. She talked about how her two children are staying with friends for shelter while she and her husband live in their car. They were in need of two sleeping bags to make their lives more bearable. Rhonda has applied for disability due to her heart condition. She described how her 13-year-old has a learning disability and needs new shoes.
“Billy had been living in tents since 2005. He has done odd jobs at restaurants over the years but always finds a way of losing his job. He is in dire need of dental work and fears for infections coming into his bloodstream from his bad teeth. His spirits seemed good, but one can only imagine the hardships he faces, being locked in the cycle of homelessness for this long.”
Thanks to the generosity and compassion of our donors and volunteers, SNGA has been able to lighten the burden of hundreds of individuals, children and families over the past couple of years, and we’re eager to do more. Thanks so much for your help! All contributions to our 501(c) 3 nonprofit are tax-deductible. Any support is greatly appreciated! Please consider donating online or mailing a check to:
Simple Needs GA
P.O. Box 670265
Marietta, GA 30066
Thanks for your support of people in need!