Next donation drive is JUNE 17!

“I don’t need a bed for myself, just for my kids.” – single dad, who called Simple Needs GA and asked for help after finding us online.

Not only did this family receive beds for its unfurnished apartment, but also furniture, household items and, for the children, birthday presents, books and school uniforms. The dad was in tears—and so were we!

Our next monthly Donation Drive is Sat., June 17, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. We hope you’ll consider dropping by our Marietta warehouse to be a part of it.

Even if you don’t have any donations, feel free to stop by for a tour. Those who tour with us understand our programs better and then realize what else in their home we can use for our clients!

Your new or gently used donations can make a big difference. Our greatest needs right now are hand towels, washcloths, blankets (full, queen, king), comforters (full, queen, king), microwaves, new pillows, shower curtain rings and pot holders (Dollar Tree is an option), toaster ovens, toasters, vacuum cleaners, pots and pans, kitchen trash cans and trash bags, coffee makers and filters, smaller kitchen essentials such as measuring cups and can openers. For a limited time, we are also accepting kids’ clothing for winter and summer. For a full list of items that our clients need, please click here.

We also need gently used (no damage or stains) dressers, mattresses/box springs (especially two xl twin box springs to go with a king mattress 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.

READY FOR NEW SHOES? WE’LL TAKE YOUR OLD ONES.
Have you ever looked in your closet and said to yourself, I need to get rid of some of these old shoes? (Of course, some of us have more of a problem with “Shoe Acquisition Syndrome” than others!) If so, take heart: Simple Needs GA is now collaborating with the Kiwanis Club, which has 600,000 volunteers across the globe, by collecting shoes for people in need. Kiwanis will take shoes in any size or condition, so long as there are no holes in the soles. It’s a fantastic organization that hosts nearly 150,000 service projects each year. Feel free to bring used shoes to our Marietta warehouse during our monthly donation drives. Thanks!

RACETRAC COMES THROUGH AGAIN
Under the leadership of CEO Allison Moran, Racetrac is well known for its tremendous support of agencies and organizations in our community. And one thing you can say about this company’s energetic volunteers—they are not afraid to sweat. A great group of interns from Racetrac volunteered at our Marietta warehouse last June, and Racetrac came through again earlier this month when the interns helped us by swapping out the toiletry storage room for the household room at our (toasty this time of year) Marietta warehouse. We’ve been getting more donations lately, so we needed more room for bigger items like comforters. The volunteers also helped clean out one of our storage closets and, perhaps most importantly, made huge progress in our donation room. It was filled to the brim with unsorted donations that needed to be properly stored but is now nearly empty! Other tasks completed by the team included book-sorting and wrapping birthday gifts for our My Birthday Matters program.

Thank so much, Racetrac!

THANKS TO 9TH GRADER LIZZY NISWONGER!
For an honors research project at Hillgrove High School in Powder Springs, ninth-grader Lizzy Niswonger focused her time and attention on Simple Needs GA. She was deeply moved by what she learned. “I decided to raise money for your amazing organization because I saw that you help families in need as well as specifically children,” she said. “I was so honored to help an organization that does so much to help the community!” After touring our Marietta warehouse and seeing the shelves packed with toys, household items, cleaning kits, winter items and more, Lizzy said she was “awestruck” by our mission. “Thank you for all that you do,” she said. “I can’t wait to eventually come in and volunteer!” Thanks to this intelligent and compassionate young person for caring about the less fortunate in her community!

HARD TO DECIDE!
A new client came to the warehouse earlier this month to pick out smaller household items. She was accompanied by a friend who has been a client in the past.

“I feel like I’m being spoiled,” the new client said, to which her friend responded: “That’s why I came with her. To help her make decisions. I remember how hard it was to get to decide.”

It’s a great ‘problem’ to have. Your generosity makes it all possible. Thanks so much for your help!

Come to our next donation drive Sat., May 20!

We hope you’ll consider stopping by our Marietta warehouse on Sat., May 20, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to be a part of our monthly donation drive. Even if you don’t have any donations, we welcome you to stop by for a tour.

Your new or gently used donations can make a big difference. Our greatest needs right now are sheets (especially twin and queen), microwaves, new pillows, shower curtains, toaster ovens, vacuum cleaners, baby wipes, diapers size newborn-2, pots and pans, trash cans, twin/full/queen/king blankets, queen comforters, toasters, DVD players, TVs and smaller kitchen essentials such as measuring cups and can openers. For a limited time, we are also accepting kids’ clothing for winter and summer.

For a full list of items that our clients need, please click here.

We are happy to announce we’re collaborating with the Kiwanis Club by collecting shoes! Any size, any condition, as long as there are no holes in the soles.

We also need gently used (no damage or stains) dressers, mattresses/box springs (especially two xl twin box springs to go with a king mattress 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.

‘IT’S SO GOOD TO SEE THE KIDS SMILE. THEY HAVEN’T SMILED THIS MUCH IN A LONG TIME.’

That’s what the friend of a family in need said to us after driving the family to our Marietta warehouse to pick up some badly needed items. Later that evening, the single dad, who had not overheard this comment, said almost the same thing: “The kids really smiled tonight.”

Can you imagine being in such tough circumstances that seeing your kids smile struck you as unusual?

We were so happy to help this gracious and kind family. Thanks to your amazing generosity, they were able to pick out household items, a cleaning kit, school uniforms, toiletries and more. We even put together My Birthday Matters packages for the kids. Later, one of our donors bought this family a bunk bed with a twin mattress on top and a full mattress on the bottom. The brand-new bed has been shipped to the family’s house! And volunteers delivered all their other furniture as well. They are all SO thankful!

We love what we do! Thanks so much for making it possible.

THANKS TO ST. CATHERINE’S OF SIENA AND ALSO MOUNT BETHEL ELEMENTARY’S GIRL SCOUT TROOP 14382

SNGA Founder Brenda Rhodes recently gave a presentation at St. Catherine’s of Siena Catholic School in Kennesaw, where students celebrated a day of prayer and service by working on projects for SNGA and other organizations. Click here to read more!

Special thanks, too, go to Girl Scout Troop 14382 of Mount Bethel Elementary. Members of the troop recently worked on their community service badges by putting together much-needed school-supply packs for SNGA’s My Birthday Matters program.

Monica Bright, a social worker for Cobb County Schools whose daughter belongs to the troop, helped the kids put together the packs. They included items such as “Johnny Bravo” and “TOP Cat” jump drives, along with colored pencils, markers, pencil sharpeners and a deck of cards.

“One of my favorite things in the world is to see the smiling faces of kids who are learning the joy of service by contributing to Simple Needs GA,” Brenda said. “Thanks so much to Monica and St. Catherine’s!”

GREAT TO SEE EVERYONE AT OUR OPEN HOUSE!

Thanks so much to everyone who came out for our Open House on Sat., April 29, when our visitors were able to see firsthand what we do. At this most recent Open House, three of our former furniture clients dropped by with their kids (not to mention a cute Chihuahua named Bubbles) to hang out and share stories about how SNGA has improved their lives.

One of our guests came by specifically to speak face-to-face with these clients. After hearing their stories, she wrote us a check for $300! A couple of other visitors made generous donations as well.

During the three-hour event, SNGA board members gave tours of the space to show off the Comfort Kits, cleaning supplies, toys and birthday inventory, no-sew blankets, winter gear and other life-improving items we routinely provide to people in need across Cobb County. For some of the newcomers, the warehouse tours were eye opening. They made comments such “this is so organized,” “I didn’t realize you did all of this,” or “I now know exactly what to donate to you.” On one table, we displayed examples of some typical items a child might receive as part of our My Birthday Matters program. Visitors touring the space were impressed; several said something along the lines of “Wow! They get all that?”

The event was such a success that we agreed to do another one in the fall. We hope to see you then!

SNGA WINS $9K GRANT FROM CCF!

For the third year in a row, Simple Needs GA has received a generous grant from the Cobb Community Foundation! The funding will go toward birthday presents, new shoes and food for children, as well as duffel bags filled with full-sized toiletries for people living in Cobb County shelters. Click here to read our press release about the grant. Thanks, CCF!

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!

Kroger Community Rewards–time to re-enroll!

Greetings, all.

As you may know, Simple Needs GA (SNGA) joined the Kroger Community Rewards program a couple of years ago. It allows Kroger shoppers to support our mission each time they use their Kroger Plus cards. However, shoppers must re-enroll each year in order to continue supporting SNGA through the program. Just wanted to give you a heads up that now’s the time to re-enroll. Just go to: www.krogercommunityrewards.comThe re-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.

kroger_community_rewardsWhen 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!

Your Donations Give Hope!

These people gave our family hope that we were losing…

Thanks to the amazing generosity of our donors and volunteers, we were able to give a super-nice couple caring for a total of six children ranging in age from 7 months to 16 years, a bed, crib, desk, table, chairs and a dresser along with many other useful items from our Marietta warehouse. We also had the family fill out some My Birthday Matters forms for the kids’ birthdays coming up later this year (we recently expanded our MBM program to include the furniture families’ kids for the year following that assistance). The dad recently lost his job. The mom suffered a stroke and a heart attack about 5 years ago.

“When I saw that a videogame system was a high priority on one of the kid’s wish lists, I remembered the Nintendo Wii system given to us by a donor,” said SNGA founder Brenda Rhodes. “The mom left our warehouse crying happy tears after I gave this family the donated Wii!”

random-acts-of-kindnessThe dad later wrote to us: “Thank you, Brenda, and Simple Needs GA. You and your volunteers have helped our family in so many ways. These people gave our family hope that we were losing. They didn’t judge, they just helped and loved. We cannot thank you enough.”

How awesome is that?! Let’s keep the ball rolling: Our next donation drive and volunteer day is Sat., July 16, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at our (definitely warm) Marietta warehouse. Come join us! We’ll have chilled water and ice pops on hand and will be running our oversized fans! A great way to find out about specific needed items is to visit our SignUpGenius page. We have also updated our online list of needed items. Just email brenda@simpleneedsga.org to get the address for Saturday. If you have a large piece of furniture, please email about that as well so we can discuss the details (and please include photos).

I was so impressed with your organization and volunteers—a wonderful community doing valuable work! The tour of your Marietta warehouse really put the depth and breadth of Simple Needs GA into perspective. I’ll be there for the next donation day with some more plates, candles, glue sticks and other items from the wish list! —Angie B., a recent SNGA volunteer

Congrats Brenda and Simple Needs GA!
Leadership Cobb Alumni Association named Brenda as the winner of the 2016 W. Wyman Pilcher Jr. Memorial Grant for community service! The grant was established in 1955 in memory of W. Wyman Pilcher, Jr., a dedicated community volunteer and former president of the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce. A Leadership Cobb press release noted that Brenda, who graduated from Leadership Cobb in May, has demonstrated a commitment to community service throughout the past year and also in her personal life. Brenda received the award at the chamber breakfast on Mon., July 11. “It’s a great honor,” she said. “Recipients of the award get to designate a charity to which $1,000 is donated. Can you guess which one I chose?”

We think we can. Thanks so much for your help of people in need!