Simple Needs GA bowling strikes again!

Attention, friends and bowlers! Join us at AMF Marietta Lanes on Oct. 22 for our latest bowling event. Whether you bowl strikes, gutter balls or something in between, it’s a great way to support our mission and have some fun all at the same time. You could even win an exciting prize in our raffle or silent auction.

Don’t love to bowl? That’s OK—come hang out with us! The money raised from this event will go to support SNGA programs.

AMF Marietta Lanes is located at 565 Cobb Parkway, Marietta, GA next to U-Haul truck rentals.

scoring

Bowling starts sharply at 2 p.m. We suggest you arrive by 1:30 to get your shoes, set up your lane and have time to look at our raffle prizes and silent auction items. Bowling ends at 4 p.m., at which time the raffle drawings will be held (you must be present to win). The cost to bowl is $20 per person including shoe rental.

For Tickets: To buy tickets, click here and then click the “donate” button on the navigation bar at the top of the page. In PayPal, click the “Add special instructions to the seller link” and then type “Bowling registration.”

To register by mail, just send a check to Simple Needs GA Inc., P.O. Box 670265, Marietta, GA 30066. Be sure to note that it’s for the bowling event.

Lane Sponsorships: Companies, churches and local businesses can support SNGA by sponsoring lanes during the event for just $25. Visit SimpleNeedsGa.org and click the “Contribute” button on the navigation bar at the top of the page. In PayPal, click the “Add special instructions to the seller link” and then type “Lane Sponsorship.” Or mail a check to the address above and note that it’s for a lane sponsorship.

Donations/Raffle: Lastly, you can support SNGA’s programs by providing donations or buying raffle tickets for an eclectic array of items.

If you’d like to take part in our raffle, you can do so by providing new birthday presents such as character toys, sporting equipment, art kits or books for elementary-aged children. Another option is to bring $25 gift cards to Walmart for Shoe Them Love.

Those who donate these types of items will receive raffle tickets that put them in the running to win prizes (exact gifts TBD).

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SNGA Donation Drive this Sat. (Aug. 19)

“My children and I didn’t have any beds or any furniture at all. We were sleeping on air mattresses. The beds and the dresser have been really great. The furniture is in good condition. I’m happy and the kids are happy. It was a really great experience.”

The quote above is from “Sharon,” a working mom with four kids ranging in age from toddler to teen. The family had come to Georgia to flee a difficult situation in another state. “They had nothing but their clothes—no furniture, no books, no bedding,” explained our volunteer Cathy Dandelakis.

After being turned down by several other social service agencies because she could not afford the $100 payment they expected, Sharon had almost given up on providing her children with a decent home.

And then she found Simple Needs GA.

Since Sharon doesn’t drive, Cathy picked her up at her apartment and took her to our Marietta warehouse, where Sharon filled out a list of needs and then worked with Cathy to find these items. “She was amazed that she was allowed to pick out all the things she needed,” Cathy said. “Some of her most treasured finds were books and new pillows for the children, a high chair and a vegetable peeler.”

Back at the apartment complex, Cathy watched with delight as Sharon’s children came pouring down the steps. “They were so happy to see everything: Dishes! Pots and pans! Bedding! Lamps! Towels! Shampoo!” Cathy said. “Each child received a brand-new backpack filled with school supplies. It was like Christmas in August!” Later in the day, SNGA volunteers Mike and Danielle, along with some helpers, delivered the furniture and beds.

The kids will be getting their birthday presents this Saturday.

“This was my first time having intimate contact with a family and it was so rewarding,” Cathy said. “The family was so grateful; Sharon and the children thanked me over and over. They just couldn’t believe that a bunch of strangers could be so kind. This is why I volunteer for Simple Needs GA. It was a total privilege to be able to provide this family hope for a better life.”

UPCOMING DONATION DRIVES!
Our next monthly Donation Drive is Sat., Aug. 19, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please consider bringing some donations to our Marietta warehouse. And even if you aren’t able to bring any this month, feel free to stop by for a tour or to help us sort and store donations and take care of other small projects.

If you want to come on the 19th but can’t make it, no worries—we’re now adding a Donation Drive (same time and location) on the first Saturday of every month as well. The next two Donation Drive dates are Sept. 2 and Sept. 16. Mark your calendar! (NOTE: We’ll only send out an email reminder for the Donation Drive on the third Saturday of each month.)

Our greatest needs right now are character backpacks (new only), microwaves, hand towels, washcloths, lamps, pots and pans (especially larger), twin/full/queen/king blankets and queen/king comforters, toaster ovens, vacuum cleaners, DVD players, toasters, irons, ironing boards, smaller wall art, can openers, shower curtain rings, new mops and brooms, women’s socks, boys’ underwear (esp XL 16-18), and bakeware. We are also accepting gently used kids’ clothing for winter and summer. For a full list of items that our clients need, please click here.

Other needed items include working TVs (not too large/heavy), mattresses and box springs of all sizes, and gently used (no damage or stains) furniture such as dressers, dining tables, dining chairs, small desks, washers/electric dryers (no front loaders), bed frames and other furniture. Please send photos to Brenda@simpleneedsga.org if you have any of these items to donate; we will arrange for you to drop off or a pick up.

 A FEW SHOUT OUTS!
We wanted to thank Liberal Moms of Roswell and Cobb (LMRC) for donating 40 backpacks filled with school supplies on July 29 for our My Birthday Matters program! (PICTURED: Sharon Whelan, who worked with fellow LMRC member Alice Cheung on this effort!) We have already started distributing these much-needed packs. LMRC has helped us out so much over the past few months!

Also, we wanted to express our gratitude to Georgia Rambo of Sew Dreams Come True for her custom embroidery of our new polo shirts (PICTURED). Beautiful! Georgia’s Marietta-based business creates custom curtains, pillow shams, throw pillows, duvet covers and more. Thanks so much, Georgia. The shirts look great!

Lastly, big thanks to all the members of the youth group at Burnt Hickory Church of Christ, on Burnt Hickory Road in Marietta, who came to our donation drive and volunteer day on Sat., July 15. These energetic young people (see a video slideshow) spruced up the landscape outside our entrance and assisted with projects inside our space as well. We got a nice note from Evan of Burnt Hickory: “Brenda, you all were a blessing. Thank you for hosting our teens as they learned how to serve and learned more about great things happening in our community.”

FROM GROCERY BAGS … TO SLEEPING MATS!
If you’re like me, you feel a bit guilty when you return from a grocery or discount store with a dozen or more plastic bags. (The United States goes through anywhere from 100 billion to 300 billion plastic bags a year!)

Fortunately, we want your bags (just the kind you get from grocery stores or Walmart, no newspaper bags) for a cool cause—sleeping mats (PICTURED) for people experiencing homelessness. Some awesome volunteers with Give Homeless Hope make these. It takes about 700 bags to make one mat!

Thanks so much for your help of people in need!

VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT
Now and again, we like to touch base with our volunteers to find out how their lives have been enriched by serving people in need in our community. Check out our Volunteer Spotlight featuring Stacy McIlwain and Alicia Putnam!

Thanks for your support of people in need!

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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 info@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!

Volunteer Spotlight: Stacy and Alicia

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” – Rabindranath Tagore.

 Now and again, we like to touch base with our volunteers to find out how their lives have been enriched by serving people in need in our community. For our dedicated volunteer Stacy McIlwain, it all started with underwear.

Stacy found out about SNGA soon after moving to Marietta in the winter of 2015.

“I came across a Facebook request from SNGA for underwear for teenage boys to accompany their Christmas gifts,” she said. “As a retired high school teacher, this was right up my alley.”

StacyMcIlwain2

Stacy McIlwain

Stacy went out and bought packs of underwear and a couple of Dopp Kits (shaving kits with toiletries) for the clients. That same day, she met SNGA founder Brenda Rhodes. “Brenda impressed me so much that I told her I would be back to volunteer,” Stacy said.

As a retired teacher, Stacy relishes her ability to use her free time to give back via several SNGA programs, including My Birthday Matters, Simply Sheltered and Simple Household Needs. Her work with the latter program often includes bringing beds to clients who are sleeping on the floor.

Stacy takes sleeping bags, tents, candles, small hygiene kits and other useful items to people living in the woods and loves picking out brand-new books for recipients of our My Birthday Matters program. On the first and third Saturdays of the month, she sorts and logs items coming into our donation room and frequently pauses to think about the difference they will make for families in need.

“Working in the donation room and seeing working irons and electric skillets, matching sheet sets, new brooms and mops, and sets of flatware always makes me do a little dance,” she said. “I know they won’t stay in the warehouse very long. They will be put to use in a client’s home.”

 One of our newer volunteers, Alicia Putnam, found out about SNGA through a volunteer program at work. She has volunteered several times now. “What stood out most to me at first was that this is a local organization supporting our own local communities,” she said. “I was able to work directly with people in the community that are getting back on their feet and moving into their own place.”

Alicia Putnam

Alicia Putnam

Volunteering at our Marietta warehouse, Alicia has been particularly moved by the experience of helping clients pick out household items that will help transform their new houses or apartments into comfortable and dignified homes. “It is a really nice feeling to see their excitement and relief,” she explained.

Alicia is looking forward to volunteering with other SNGA programs such as My Birthday Matters, Shoe them Love and Comfort Kits. “I think these are all really great programs to help care for those in need in our community,” she said. “This is a great organization filling a real need and I am glad to be a part of it.”

Thanks so much to all the donors and volunteers who make Simple Needs GA possible!

Aug. 11 benefit for Simple Needs GA at PearTree in Kennesaw

Greetings, all.

We wanted to let you know about an exciting benefit for Simple Needs GA coming up on Fri., Aug. 11, at the Kennesaw location of PearTree, a floral, home furnishings and gift shop at 1600 Kennesaw Due West Rd.

Kim Kornblatt, owner of the family-owned business, is offering store-wide discounts of 25 percent off on PearTree items.

Available at the event: handcrafted designer jewelry by EsBe Designs; stay-on lipstick and gloss by Lipsense; trendy women’s fashions by Lularoe; and bath and body products by Perfectly Posh, to name a few, along with art and monogramming & products. There will be door prizes, giveaways, wine, appetizers and Nothing Bundt Cakes, too.

“I wanted to have an event that would help our community, so I reached out to small business owners and asked if they wanted to partner with me,” Kim said. “The response was overwhelming! I’m hoping this will be our first of many to come.”

Kim found out about Simple Needs GA from one of her customers. “I’m so excited that you’re right here in our own backyard,” Kim said. “My heart goes out to struggling women and children everywhere. I just wanted to get involved and try to make an impact in our community!”

You can buy an advanced $10 ticket through PearTree’s Facebook page or call 770-422-7360. Kim is asking everyone who drops by to “sip, shop and socialize” to make a $10 donation to SNGA. The event starts at 7 and ends at 10 p.m.

To learn more about PearTree, which also has a downtown Powder Springs location at 4440 Marietta St., visit ptflorist.com.

PearTree ~ Home.Florist.Gifts is a family-owned local business that has been serving its customers with custom floral arrangemet delivery In Powder Springs and metro Atlanta since 1978. The Kennesaw location opened in 2010.

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.