SNGA receives $5K grant from Wells Fargo Atlanta

For: Simple Needs GA
Marietta, Ga.                                                                           For Immediate Release

SIMPLE NEEDS GA RECEIVES $5K GRANT FROM WELLS FARGO ATLANTA
–Generous disbursement of funds will help Marietta-based nonprofit support families and children in need across Cobb County.

MARIETTA, Ga. (10/23/2018) — The Atlanta office of Wells Fargo has awarded Simple Needs GA (SNGA) a $5,000 grant to help people in need in Cobb County.

The Human Services & Basic Needs grant will go toward SNGA’s Simple Household Needs program, which provides furniture, household items and cleaning kits to people transitioning out of homelessness or escaping from domestic violence.

“We are deeply honored to receive this generous grant from Wells Fargo’s Atlanta office,” said Brenda Rhodes, Founder and Executive Director of SNGA. “This will help dozens of children and families in need in Cobb. It will translate directly into people moving from the floor or air mattresses to real beds, or finally having kitchen or bath basics that most of us take for granted.”

The Atlanta office of Wells Fargo is proud to support SNGA’s commitment to the community, said Tai A. Roberson, Vice President, Senior Community Development Officer, Wells Fargo Government and Community Relations. Each year, she noted, local offices of the national bank provide similar grants to a wide variety of community organizations across the country.

“At Wells Fargo, we believe that grant-making decisions are more effective when made locally,” Roberson said. “That’s why Wells Fargo is actively involved in the communities where we live and work, and why our team members are leaders in helping our communities succeed.”

SNGA’s Simple Household Needs program provides all-new cleaning kits to help families sanitize and dignify their surroundings. The new laundry baskets are filled with more than a dozen cleaning products and tools—supplies not covered by food stamps. “Social workers help us distribute these kits to families,” Rhodes said. “They also go to our furniture clients and to several agencies who shelter clients in apartments, such as LiveSAFE Resources.”

Via the program, SNGA also relies on donations of household items, including dishes, linens, silverware, microwaves, vacuums and cookware for clients and collects donations of gently used furniture such as beds, tables and chairs, dressers and more. “It’s all the essential items you would need if you had nothing in a new home,” Rhodes families. “Struggling families are typically overjoyed when we drive up in the delivery truck and also when they see all the household items from which they can choose during their appointment at our space. Most leave with no room left in their car. This program helps them live with greater ease and dignity.”

For more information about SNGA or Simple Household Needs, email brenda@simpleneedsga.org.

About Simple Needs GA (SNGA)
SNGA’s mission is to meet the simple needs of children, people experiencing homelessness, and others in need, while inspiring our community to do the same. The Marietta, Ga.-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit offers several community-based programs. Donors and volunteers provide full-sized toiletries and other useful items to people living in homeless shelters. They furnish tents, sleeping bags, tarps and other essentials to those living in the woods or on the street, and supply families with furniture, appliances, cleaning supplies, toilet paper and other household necessities. Other initiatives include providing schoolchildren with required school uniforms; helping social workers buy kids new shoes via gift cards; bringing new presents and other items to homeless children celebrating their birthdays; and providing Christmas presents for children in need. For more info, visit SimpleNeedsGA.org.

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Media contacts: At SNGA: Brenda Rhodes, Founder, Brenda@SimpleNeedsGA.org, 678-266- 3344.

 

 

Next donation drive: Sat., Oct. 20

“I want to thank you and your volunteers so much for such wonderful gifts for my son. He really enjoyed his books! May all of you be blessed for putting such a big smile on his face on his birthday!”

–furniture client after one of her sons received his presents from our My Birthday Matters program.

“You really outdid yourself! I’m so grateful and happy for everything! I love everything!”

–former shelter resident whose family received a delivery from our Simple Household Needs volunteers.

NEXT DONATION DRIVE IS OCT. 20!
A chill is in the air! Time to start collecting winter outerwear once again. Our next monthly Donation Drive is Sat., Oct. 20, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at our Marietta warehouse.

If you can’t make it on Oct. 20, we’ll have drives next month on Nov. 3 and Nov. 17 (Nov. 17 is also our open house). Mark your calendars!

In addition to outdoor winterwear for people of all ages and sizes, our clients need:

BRAND NEW: mops and brooms, boy’s socks for ages 5 and up, books for tweens, small “shopping” bags to put smaller items in for kids who are in pre-K or younger (older kids get backpacks), Amazon Fire 7 tablets (when you see them on sale).

NEW OR GENTLY USED:Curtain rods, DVD players, dish sets (no random dishes or glasses needed), crockpots, toaster ovens, toasters, pots and pans, baking pans/cookie sheets, large serving bowls, shower rings, kitchen scissors, pot holders and trivets, can openers, water pitchers, measuring spoons and cups (small or large), hand towels, bath rugs, sheets (esp. full), blankets of all sizes, comforters (esp. twin, queen, king), air mattresses, mattress pads (all sizes esp. queen).

CURRENT FURNITURE NEEDS (NEW OR GENTLY USED): mattresses and box springs, kitchen tables and chairs, dressers or chests of drawers, TV stands, nightstands, coffee tables, end tables, small desks and bookshelves.

If you would like to donate larger (essential) furniture, please email photos to brenda@simpleneedsga.org. If you can deliver, GREAT! If not, include address as well  (Cobb County only).

One of our goals for our furniture clients is for them to not spend too many nights sleeping on the floor. We do not receive enough donations of mattresses and box springs, so we often need to purchase them.We welcome financial contributions toward the purchase of those. Donate here.

Additional donor resources:
SNGA client Amazon Wish List
Our updated list of client needs
List of what SNGA clients are offered

A WARM GIFT FROM THE DAVIS ACADEMY
The Davis Academyin Sandy Springs recently collected more than 160coats of all sizes, as well as bags of hats, scarves, gloves and socks, for Simple Needs GA’s clients. Check out our blog post to read more about this fantastic donation, which will go a long way toward keeping our clients warm and cozy this winter!

A VERY SPECIAL (ANONYMOUS) DONOR
A steady stream of boxes has been showing up on the doorstep of Brenda Rhodes, SNGA Founder and Executive Director, for the past few months.

The items for SNGA clients have included floor lamps, sheets, crockpots, pillows, ironing boards and irons, kitchen garbage cans, vacuums, toasters, shower rings and curtains, cutlery, toys, stuffed animals, craft books and even Amazon Fire tablets. “We’re not just talking about one or two of each item,” Brenda said. “There were 16 floor lamps!”

And they all came from the same donor. “This particular person has been ordering almost every needed item I’ve posted on Facebook lately,” Brenda said. “She’s just amazing.”

While the donor wants to remain anonymous, we thought we’d thank her in the newsletter, anyway! We also wanted to share her story.

In 1977, the donor was four years old when she moved with her family from India to Canada. Her parents, whose business in India had recently gone under, arrived in their new country with just $80 in their pockets. The donor, who now lives in East Cobb, says she will never forgot the generosity others showed her family during its time of need. “We lived with my aunt and uncle for four or five months when we came to Canada,” she recalled. “I remember people donating used furniture and mattresses to us when we moved into our first one-bedroom apartment.”

Her parents, she says, taught her the value of hard work and stressed the importance of education. “Now they can retire very comfortably,” the donor explained, “and I feel like it’s my time to give back.”

Thanks so much to this donor—you know who you are!—for your incredible generosity. You’re making a real difference in the lives of our clients!

DIAPER DAY REMINDER
Diaper Day is Mon., Oct. 29. Please consider helping out! See their Amazon Wish List. SNGA is one of the agencies that receives some of the diapers.

GO KIWANIS!
The board for the Kiwanis Club of Marietta, Golden K, recently voted to sponsor Simple Needs GA in a major way. “We will be getting $4,000 per year from the club to support our programs for children and families in need in Cobb County,” Brenda explained. “They have donated to us in the past, but we were floored when Pat Abbott contacted us to tell us about the quarterly, $1,000 sponsorships. We are truly honored!”

At SNGA, we’re huge fans of the great work our local Kiwanis clubs do in the community. It includes things like supporting the Georgia Special Olympics Winter Games in Marietta or the Lost Mountain Golf Tournament, awarding scholarships, supporting educational programs and, of course, donating to local nonprofits.

Brenda is a charter member of the Mountain View Professionals Kiwanis Club, a so-called 123 Club that meets in the evenings. The group recently got together to make no-sew blankets for SNGA’s My Birthday Matters program.

Kiwanis Mountain View 2
Left to right: Matt Bearden, Matthew Ellis, Brenda Rhodes, Ginny Braswell, Kelly Ellis)

Way to leverage your connections, Brenda! 😀

Thanks again to the wonderful folks at Kiwanis!

ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL HOA DAY
On Oct. 6, we had another fantastic Hands on Atlanta Daywith volunteers from First Data(a regular contributor to SNGA) as well as new volunteers from Imerys S.A., a French multinational company that specializes in the production and processing of industrial minerals.

“The volunteers got a lot done—from the many Comfort Kits they put together, to the cleaning kits, to clothes-sorting, program supply organizing and much more,” Brenda said. “It was especially great seeing the ‘repeat offenders.’ ”

“The First Data team really enjoyed volunteering at Simple Needs GA and was so impressed with all the amazing work that you and your team do for so many people in Cobb County—simply amazing!” said Katie Lefebvre, Vice President, Relationship Executive. “We were honored to play a small part in this great effort. We look forward to the next opportunity to work with you and your fine team.”DSC_0084

The feeling is mutual, Katie! Thanks so much to all of the volunteers and board members who came out on Oct. 6. You can watch a short YouTube video with some pics here.

BIG BLANKET HAUL—THANKS TO RACETRAC!
Under the leadership of CEO Allison Moran, locally based c-store chain RaceTrac is a strong supporter of a wide range of charitable causes. This past September about 50 employees at RaceTrac’s Store Support Center in Smyrna spent a couple of hours putting together dozens of new-sew blankets for the homeless children who receive them via our My Birthday Matters program.

Wilson Wood, Specialist (pictured), Marketing Partnerships & Projects, delivered the blankets during our donation drive and volunteer day on Oct. 6.

“We were so excited to get those blankets!” Brenda said. “In fact, some of our volunteers who were working on birthdays didn’t quite have the right blankets until Wilson saved the day with the big delivery. We can’t thank RaceTrac enough! We really appreciate their ongoing support!”RaceTrac Blankets2

EAGLES AT THE WAREHOUSE
Another shout out goes to the 14 Georgia Southern University alumni(pictured) who volunteered at our Marietta warehouse on Sept. 22 as part of GSU’s National Alumni Day of Service.

The former Eagles sorted donations, organized blankets, prepared birthday gifts and prepped Comfort Kits. It was their first time volunteering with Simple Needs GA, said Emily McDonald, who learned about SNGA because her church is involved with the Family Promise of Cobb County shelter program.

SNGA collaborates with Family Promise by supplying Comfort Kits for its residents as well as celebrating kids’ birthdays. When the families find a new home, they become furniture clients as well.

The volunteers did a great job and were a joy to work with, Brenda said. “We were so lucky to have their help,” she said. “The Eagles are welcome back anytime!”GSU Group

NEXT OPEN HOUSE IS NOV. 17
Mark your calendar—the next open house at our Marietta warehouse will be Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. We hope you’ll stop by the warehouse to chat, grab a bite to eat, meet some clients and talk about our mission. We’re also planning to have a very special holiday event—giving our clients a chance to have their kids photographed with Santa for free! 😀

Email Brenda@simpleneedsga.orgif you have questions or need the address!

We hope to see you there!

SNGA WELCOMES NEW BOARD MEMBERS!
Please join is in welcoming two awesome new members of Simple Needs GA’s Board of Directors: Nancy Riley and Jen Sypeck. “Both Nancy and Jen have been incredibly helpful to Simple Needs GA as volunteers and are a joy to work with,” Brenda said. “We’re thrilled to welcome them to our board. Their broad volunteering experience and diverse skills are already coming in handy. Thanks so much to Jen and Nancy for pitching in as part of our board!”

UH OH. OUR FURNITURE RENT HAS TRIPLED.
Our rent for furniture storage space has more than tripled—but in a good way.

Due to the large increase in furniture clients, Brenda explains, we are spending much more money on truck rentals and labor than we did last year. The long and the short of it: We need to ramp up our donations to offset these costs. One great way to do that is through monthly or otherwise recurring donations from regular contributors. You can support SNGA by setting up a monthly donation, either electronically or by check. We call it our Simply Caring campaign. For info on how to donate, click here.

 

A Warm Gift from The Davis Academy

The Davis Academy in Sandy Springs recently collected more than 160 coats of all sizes, as well as bags of hats, scarves, gloves and socks, for Simple Needs GA’s clients.

“Our students were particularly concerned and alarmed to think of kids their age and families like their own not having warm clothes for winter,” said Rabbi Micah Lapidus, Davis Academy’s Rabbi and Director of Jewish and Hebrew Studies. It’s the largest Reform Jewish day school in the country and the largest K-8 academic organization in Georgia.

“The need for winter outerwear in our community is always high, and it’s fantastic to get so many high-quality items this early in the season,” said SNGA Founder and Executive Director Brenda Rhodes. “Now we’re all set to give warm clothing to our clients who come by for household items. We’ll also be sharing these donations with our collaborating agencies such as LiveSAFE Resources. Any new hats, gloves and scarves could be used for our Spirit of Christmas program as well. Thanks so much to everyone at The Davis Academy!”

The SNGA drive, which ran Sept. 25 to Oct. 2, coincided with the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. The school, Rabbi Micah explains, strives to have a social action component to all of its holidays. “We want our students to understand that no holiday celebration is complete unless we think about others and take action toward making the world a better place,” he said.Leah and Eva 4 web

The drive was a collaborative effort involving the parent teacher organization, as well as the year-old Tzedek (righteousness) committee. “This committee is responsible for planning community service programs throughout the school year, giving our school community an opportunity to get involved and to give back,” Rabbi Micah said. (Davis Academy parents Kathleen Hoff, Celia Chase and Leah Golub (pictured, with her daughter Eva) are the committee organizers for 2018-19’.)

According to Rabbi Micah, the school believes communities are stronger when people work together. “We pride ourselves on lifting up and supporting the work of organizations like SNGA,” he said. “We want our students to understand how we make a difference in this world so that they can carry on this legacy themselves.”

Thanks again to The Davis Academy for its support of people in need!

Donation drive this Sat., Sept. 15

“Thank you from me and the girls for all of your help! We really appreciate your kindness and generosity. Our place feels so much better, especially being able to sleep comfortably.”

 

“I didn’t expect all of this. Thank you so much!”

–Clients who recently received furniture and household items from SNGA’s Simple Household Needs

“Every time I volunteer there, I am reminded how good I have it.”

–recent Simple Needs GA volunteer

UPCOMING DONATION DRIVE
Greetings, all!

Our next monthly Donation Drive is Sat., Sept. 15, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at our Marietta warehouse. See list below for some of our most-needed items.

If you can’t make it on Sept. 15, we’ll have drives next month on Oct. 6 and Oct. 20. Mark your calendars!

Hard to believe it, but it’s time to start collecting winter outerwear once again for people in need. We’re collecting new and gently used coats, jackets, sweaters, hats, gloves, mittens, long underwear, earmuffs—any outerwear that could help keep someone warm. We’re collecting items for people of all ages and sizes.

In addition, our clients are in particular need of:

  • vacuums
  • kitchen trashcans
  • irons and ironing boards
  • mattress covers
  • comforters (queen and king especially)
  • blankets (all sizes)
  • new backpacks
  • pot holders and mitts
  • kitchen towels
  • hand towels
  • birthday paper for boys (especially older)
  • books for tweens and teens
  • new stuffed dinosaurs and
  • new stuffed kitty cats

Our clients always need what we call “small items.” When clients come to our space, they get to choose dishes, bedding, small appliances and SO much more. Here is a list of what they are offered.

If you have any of these to donate or could purchase some of these items new, we would be most grateful.

We are, of course, always collecting furniture as well. If you would like to donate larger (essential) furniture items, please email photos/phone to brenda@simpleneedsga.org. If you can deliver, GREAT! If not, include address as well. Note that we only pick up in Cobb County.

One of our goals for our furniture clients is for them to not spend too many nights sleeping on the floor. We do not receive enough donations of mattresses and box springs, so we often need to purchase them. Therefore, we welcome financial contributions toward the purchase of those.

For a full list of needed items, please click here.

OUR NEWEST PROGRAM IS SIMPLY FUN!
Simple Needs GA is in the early stages of planning a new program that will help families in need attend uplifting cultural events. For more info, check out our blog post on what we’re calling Simply Fun!

9-YEAR-OLD CELEBRATES HER BIRTHDAY—BY GIVING BACK
At Simple Needs GA, we’re always so impressed when children take it upon themselves to celebrate their birthdays by giving back to others. On several occasions, we’ve had kids donate all of their presents to children in need.

Recently, a local 9-year-old named Sadie once again donated her birthday gifts (this year, in the form of a $100 Target gift card) to Simple Needs GA. (Sadie and her sister have donated for their birthdays for the past three years running.)

Sadie Birthday Target Card
Order left to right Ali, Isabela, Jamie (mom), Sadie and Amelia

 

And Sadie is still at it! In lieu of lemonade, Sadie began hunting and selling golf balls at the beginning of 2018—all with the intention of donating the proceeds to Simple Needs GA.

What terrific kids!

 

 

MAKING RECURRING DONATIONS THROUGH OUR ‘SIMPLY CARING’ PROGRAM
Did you know that recurring donations are one of the most important sources of support for nonprofits across the United States?

You can support SNGA in a major way by setting up a monthly donation, either electronically or by check. We call it our Simply Caring campaign. For info on how to donate, click here.

OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP
Facebook fundraisers (example) can be an easy and efficient way to support our mission. Feel free to leverage your social media peeps! 😀

Donate online here. Donations can be sent to Simple Needs GA, Inc., P.O. Box 670265, Marietta, GA 30066.

To volunteer as an individual, company, church or other organization, contact us at brenda@simpleneedsga.org. Visit our volunteer page for more info.

smile.amazon.com is a great way to support SNGA. Just sign up for the program and choose Simple Needs GA from the list. After that, AmazonSmile will donate to SNGA each time you make a purchase! Just remember to go to the smile.amazon.com portal before you do your shopping!

Check out how you can support us in similar fashion by signing up for Kroger Community Rewards!

Bike Donation EDITED

5 yr old boy Sept 2018 edited

Our new program is…Simply Fun!

“This is the best day of my life!”

That’s what a little girl said to her mom after watching a matinee of “The Little Mermaid Jr.” this past June at a children’s theater in Marietta.

She was one of 13 children and nine adults who had been invited to From the Top Theatrics to watch the show and enjoy a pizza party with cast members dressed as Disney characters. The delighted VIPs were all clients of Simple Needs GA who had faced challenges such as homelessness or domestic violence.Programs

The little girl’s comment made an organizer cry. It also sparked SNGA’s newest program—“Simply Fun.”

“These kids had never been to a live performance in their lives,” said Brenda Rhodes, founder and executive director of SNGA. “It made me realize that they weren’t just missing out on things like new clothes or other material necessities. Their families don’t have the money to take them to the kinds of uplifting and entertaining events that other children get to go to all the time.”

Simply Fun aims to change that, one family at a time.

The program focuses on enabling Cobb County families and children in need to attend plays, concerts, sporting events and more. “The ‘gift’ here is for these families and their kids to have experiences that put smiles on their faces and create lasting memories,” Brenda said.

In addition to referring its clients to the program, SNGA will work with local social workers and referral agencies to identify families in need.

To get the program started, the Marietta-based nonprofit is now seeking the following help from donors, volunteers, corporate partners and local creatives.

  • donations of event tickets from Cobb County family entertainment venues of all types and sizes
  • financial donations for tickets and for things like soda, popcorn, souvenirs and transportation to and from events [Donation information here]
  • assistance from individuals willing to act as coordinators/team leads for the program
  • ideas and suggestions for fun, uplifting and entertaining events

“We are in the early stages of planning Simply Fun and are totally open to everyone’s ideas for how to make this program a big success for our clients,” Rhodes said. “If you have contacts at local venues or among local creatives, or if you just have some thoughts or questions, we’d love to hear from you!”

For more information, or to donate to Simply Fun, email info@simpleneedsga.org.

 

Donation Drive on Sat., Aug. 18, from 10-1

Greetings, all.
Our next monthly Donation Drive is Sat., Aug. 18, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at our Marietta warehouse. See list below for some of our most-needed items.

If you can’t make it on Aug. 18, we’ll have drives next month on Sept. 1 and Sept. 15. Mark your calendars!

Within the past week, we added six new families to our list of those who are emerging from homelessness and need furniture and beds. Just to help these families, we’re seeking—in good shape (no stains, damage or excessive wear and tear):

  • three twin mattresses
  • five twin box springs
  • one full mattress/box
  • two queen box springs
  • bed frames of any size
  • three armchairs/recliners
  • two small kitchen table sets (we have plenty of larger tables but they won’t fit in their apts)
  • two sofas
  • three TV stands (or very small entertainment units)
  • one dresser

If you have any of these to donate, please email photos/phone to brenda@simpleneedsga.org. If you can deliver, GREAT! If not, include address as well. Note that we only pick up in Cobb County.

In addition to furniture, we are running very low on what we call “small items” for these clients. Each client comes to our space and gets to choose dishes, bedding, small appliances and SO much more. Here is a list of what they are offered. Next trip to the Dollar Tree or Walmart, please consider picking up a few things from the list.

We welcome financial contributions toward the purchase of mattresses, box springs and other household essentials as well.

For a full list of needed items, please click here. Specific needs for our My Birthday Matters program (very recently updated!) are posted on our SignUpGenius.

‘LITTLE HELPERS’ MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE
Thousands of children have rolled up their sleeves to help people in need over the past eight years thanks to a service organization called Little Helpers. It all started in 2010 when founder Tran Bui Smith had an epiphany.

“It just happened one day,” she said. “I’m looking around at all of the stuff that was in my house—all of the kids’ toys—and thinking ‘This was not how I grew up.’ ”

Click here to read more of our blog post on a fantastic organization that is all about teaching children the value of hard work, gratitude and giving back. We’re so grateful to the volunteers and donors at Little Helpers for the help they have provided to Simple Needs GA and for the overall vision of this organization!

LittleHelpers

BARNES & NOBLE—A CONSISTENT SNGA PARTNER
Last year, Brenda was strolling the aisles at Barnes & Noble Cumberland (2952 Cobb Pkwy.) looking for nifty toys and books for the homeless schoolchildren who are recipients of Simple Needs GA’s My Birthday Matters program.

“Since it never hurts to ask, I decided to tell the folks at Barnes & Noble about our nonprofit mission and programs,” she said. “Right away, Barnes & Noble Cumberland donated some great toys and books to Simple Needs GA—all brand-new and ideal for our clients.”

BarnesandNobleCumberlandTo Brenda’s pleasant surprise, the store has continued to contribute to SNGA ever since. “They’ve contacted us several times to make donations of a wide variety of toys, books and collectible items for kids,” Brenda said. “In addition to providing us with items that entertain and educate our clients, these donations also help us stretch our limited financial resources in ways that benefit more people in need in our community.”

Thanks so much Barnes & Noble Cumberland! You are A-OK in our book! 😀

WE’RE THRILLED TO BE LINKED UP…WITH LINKED UP CHURCH
When Claudia Manigault reached out to Brenda regarding Marietta-based Linked Up Church’s Serve Day on July 14, Brenda knew it would be a great collaboration. “Claudia has volunteered with us several times with her employer UCB as well as on her own,” Brenda said. “We love her!”

Linked Up Church did a drive and brought donations of many boxes of toiletries to SNGA, and plans to do more in the future! Thanks so much to Claudia and Linked Up!

BACK TO SCHOOL SPURS DEMAND FOR UNIS
Now that your kids are back in school, are their required uniforms getting a bit snug? Feel free to donate them to Simple Needs GA’s Uniforms for Excellence program, which helps schoolchildren in Cobb County “dress for success” by providing them with required school uniforms their parents struggle to afford.

In support of Uniforms for Excellence, donors provide gently used khakis, skirts and polo shirts that meet the requirements of individual schools. Alternately, they fund the purchase of brand-new uniforms.UniformsforExcellence

SNGA opened and continues to supply a school uniform closet at the Powder Springs United Methodist Church, where social workers can find the uniforms that specific children need. As we collect unis year-round, we either add them to the closet or distribute them to the Marietta City and Cobb County school uniform closets.

If you’re interested in helping us with this, keep an eye on clearance racks at discount-oriented retailers like Walmart. On one trip, we found 10 pairs of khakis for just $7 or $9 each, along with 30 polos at just $3 each!

DONATION DRIVE BY SGS GETS AN A+
This past July, about 50 employees from Marietta’s Southern Graphic Systemsdonated a hefty amount of much-needed school supplies for clients of Simple Needs GA’s My Birthday Matters program. Thanks so much to SGS and Project Coordinator AnDreka Jones!

The donations included at least 30 Ziploc bags full of school supplies along with backpacks, toys, books and more. SGS reached out to Simple Needs GA as part of the packaging and marketing company’s ongoing efforts to give back to the community, AnDreka says.Andreka Jones 2

“We thought SNGA was a great fit for us,” she said. “In particular, we loved the idea of helping kids who don’t really get to celebrate their birthdays because of their living situation. We were just there to be able to put that smile on a child’s face.”

SGS enjoyed the experience so much, in fact, that the company plans to continue working with us, especially as our Christmas program cranks up in November. “This is the beginning of something that is going to be great for us,” AnDreka said.

And for SNGA, too! Thanks again to the awesome folks at SGS!

SHOUT OUT TO OUR FACEBOOK FUNDRAISERS
We just wanted to say thanks to those of you who have used Facebook to raise money for Simple Needs GA. One recent example is Rob Bruce’s birthday fundraiser, which brought in $290 (out of a goal of $200). As Matt Harper and other SNGA contributors have learned, Facebook fundraisers can be an easy and efficient way to support our mission. Feel free to leverage your social media peeps! 😀

Rob Bruce Fundraiser Pic

 OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP SNGA
Donate onlinehere. Donations can be sent to Simple Needs GA, Inc., P.O. Box 670265, Marietta, GA 30066.

To volunteer as an individual, company, church or other organization, contact us at brenda@simpleneedsga.org. Visit our volunteer page for more info.

smile.amazon.com is a great way to support SNGA. Just sign up for the program and choose Simple Needs GA from the list. After that, AmazonSmile will donate to SNGA each time you make a purchase! Just remember to go to the smile.amazon.com portal before you do your shopping!

Check out how you can support us in similar fashion by signing up for Kroger Community Rewards!

 

‘Little Helpers’ Makes a Big Difference

Thousands of children have rolled up their sleeves to help people in need over the past eight years thanks to a service organization called Little Helpers. It all started in 2010 when founder Tran Bui Smith had an epiphany.

“It just happened one day,” she said. “I’m looking around at all of the stuff that was in my house—all of the kids’ toys—and thinking ‘This was not how I grew up.’ ”

After the fall of Saigon in 1975, Smith’s family fled Vietnam as part of the mass exodus by sea of up to 800,000 South Vietnamese. The refugees braved overcrowded, rickety boats—not to mention typhoons and pirates—to escape execution or imprisonment by the communist government. Tens of thousands died trying to reach safe havens such as Australia, the United States or Hong Kong.

“My parents were in their 20s, and my sisters were one and two,” Smith said. “The pictures that you see of people running and escaping by boat—that was us. We were boat people.”

After living in refugee camps, the family eventually settled in Arkansas. From an early age, Smith tackled household chores and cared for her younger siblings while her parents worked. Her early life was tough, she says, but it taught her many lessons—especially the importance of gratitude.

Smith wanted to make sure her children, who were two and five years old at the time, appreciated their abundant material and other blessings, she says. Already a longtime community volunteer, she approached two friends with an idea.

“I said, ‘What do you think about starting a group where we all volunteer once a month? We can just schedule an event, put it on the calendar and go,’ ” she recalled. “I feel like we schedule all of these things for ourselves and our children, whether it is sports or the gym or going out with friends. Why not make service a priority, too?”

After launching the first Little Helpers in Memphis, Tenn., Smith and her family moved to Rochester, N.Y., and started a chapter there as well. Today, Little Helpers has 17 chapters all over the country, with more starting this fall. A former TV news reporter, anchor and producer, Smith is a freelance video producer. She founded the Metro Atlanta chapter of Little Helpers in 2015 after relocating to Roswell. “I have families who come from all over the Atlanta area—from places like Acworth, Woodstock or Lawrenceville—to volunteer with us,” she said.

LH LOGOFor the past couple of years, Little Helpers has generously supported Simple Needs GA through both volunteer hours and in-kind donations. On June 16, about 30 children and adults from Little Helpers gathered at SNGA’s Marietta warehouse to sort and organize inventory and donations, assemble Comfort Kits, put together no-sew blankets, and more.

“They’re a fantastic group of volunteers,” said SNGA Founder Brenda Rhodes. “It is so inspiring to see kids of all ages working alongside their parents to give back to their community.” Little Helpers’ donation drives have also benefitted SNGA’s clients in a major way, Brenda says. “Last October, they donated a huge pile of socks and underwear for our clients, and they’re planning to organize another drive for us this fall,” she said. “They’re amazing!”

35381736_2014812881894018_6264241017038307328_oSince 2010, Smith and the Little Helpers volunteers have cleaned parks, visited nursing homes, made sandwiches for the homeless, walked dogs at a rescue center and planted flowers at a shelter for abused women, to name just a few service projects. They deliver treats and thank-you notes to first responders in remembrance of 9/11 and routinely collect food, toiletries, backpacks, school supplies and other items for people in need. The group’s “Appreciation Station”—a table that volunteers sometimes set up at local festivals—is all about gratitude. “We put out cards, markers and pens and get people to stop by and write a thank-you note to someone who has been kind to them,” Smith explained.

Today’s conflict-ridden and social media-obsessed world can seem dark and chaotic, Smith notes, but when young people engage with their communities they are more likely to see the good in themselves and in others. That, in turn, can lead to lasting changes in their character. “I have seen it over the years,” she said. “It becomes a part of who you are.”

Now Smith’s children Ava, 10, and Jackson, 13, treat others with kindness all on their own, she says. “To me, this is as important as making good grades, staying healthy, having a good spiritual relationship, whatever it is,” she said. “It’s a big priority and a big commitment, but it is worth it. It is good for your heart.”Little Helpers Oct 21 2017 in action

Occasionally, Smith concedes, part of her would rather sleep in on a Saturday than head to another service project, but the feeling never lasts long. “I have never, ever left a service project and thought ‘Boy, that was a waste of my time,’ ” she said. “You might go somewhere doubting whether you’ll really make a difference and then something powerful will happen. Maybe you’re the only person who sees it or experiences it. That’s all it takes to change you.”

For more information about Little Helpers, email tranbsmith@gmail.com or visit https://www.facebook.com/LittleHelpersofAtlanta/

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Little Helpers volunteers @ SNGA’s warehouse