‘You Made My Kids Feel So Special’
“I am very grateful for you. I really felt lost, but you made my kids feel so special. My 13-year-old knows that God is always looking out for us.”—Client of SNGA’s Simple Household Needs program (see story below)
‘SIMPLY SAYING’ (A NOTE FROM OUR FOUNDER, BRENDA RHODES)
We want to say thanks—once again—to all of our incredible financial donors as well as those who provide needed supplies for our seven programs (who knows what they are other than me?!). (For the record, they are Simple Household Needs, My Birthday Matters, Comfort Kits, Simply Sheltered, Uniforms for Excellence, Shoe Them Love and Spirit of Christmas.)
We continue to be very busy and have helped many families over the last few months with beds, furniture and household items; gifts and toys for kids/teens, which puts smiles on their faces; random diaper/cleaning-supply requests; school uniforms and backpacks full of school supplies; and much more.
We are always thinking, “Ooh, we should share that story or that quote with everyone!” But we don’t always have time to stop and do that. Please know that you are making a very large impact on many lives, even if we don’t tell you all the time!
DONATION DRIVE ON SAT., SEPT. 18!
Our next Donation Drive is Sat., Sept. 18, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at our Marietta warehouse. Email [email protected] for the address or with questions.
The donation drives after that are Oct. 2 and Oct. 16. Mark your calendars!
Here are some of the items we need most right now.
- Stuffed animals (specifically dogs, monkeys, larger teddy bears, tigers)
- Women’s socks (esp other than ankle)
- Amazon Fire 7 tablets and cases (black/red/blue/pink/purple)
- Footballs for youth (ages 8-13ish)
- Bike helmets for older teens (adult size)
- Kitchen trash cans – and 13 gallon garbage bags
- AA and AAA batteries
- Pullups (esp girls 4T-5T)
NEW OR GENTLY USED ITEMS:
- TVs in working order and cable-ready. And can be lifted/carried by one strong person.
- Candles (larger size; no tea)
- Toasters, crockpots, toaster ovens, coffee makers, vacuums
- Comforters (esp twin), mattress covers, blankets, throw blankets
- Floor lamps (less than $10 at Walmart)
- Large drinking glasses (sets preferred), bowls
- Irons and ironing boards (inexpensive smaller ones at Walmart)
- Larger pots (4qt and larger), pans, and skillets (all sizes are needed – larger especially)
- Blenders, mixers, tea pots
- DVDs for kids and adults
To see what we need the most at any time (we update about once a week), please visit:
BRINGING JOY TO A FAMILY IN NEED
Cobb County social worker Gayle Roque had just started working with a family that was badly in need of some help when she remembered the mission of Simple Needs GA.
The mom, grandmother and two boys, ages 13 and 15, had dealt with a raft of challenges—everything from facing an eviction notice and sleeping in a car, to having that car’s heater fail, to dealing with a creepy maintenance man who made aggressive overtures to one of the adults.
Once the family had found a safe and stable apartment, Gayle wanted to help them furnish it and get back on their feet. That’s when she remembered learning about Simple Needs GA as an intern in the field during grad school.
“I emailed Brenda, explaining the situation with the family and how they were asking for an air mattress just until the mom could buy beds,” Gayle recalled. “That was at 8 a.m. Brenda just picked up the phone and called me right away. She offered to provide them with actual beds.”
Before Gayle knew it, Brenda and her team of SNGA volunteers were working with the family to provide them with much-needed kitchen and bathroom items, beds, birthday presents for the kids and more.
“The mom was overjoyed with what SNGA was able to provide them,” Gayle said. “I was impressed by the quick response and the way SNGA was able to help this family have a successful transition into their stable home.”
The mom said the new table and chairs allowed her family to have their first home-cooked meal together in a long time. “I love the stuff you gave us—it’s like it was meant for us,” she said. “I am very grateful for you. I really felt lost, but you made my kids feel so special. My 13-year-old knows that God is always looking out for us.”
SNGA IS ON THE LOOKOUT FOR MORE STORAGE SPACE
The furniture component of SNGA’s Simple Household Needs program continues to grow—and that means our organization could really use more warehouse space to store all those mattresses, sofas, dining tables, chairs and more.
Did you know that at one time we had a gigantic warehouse totalling 15,000 square feet? Alas, the owner had to take it back. Today, we have a 900-square-foot storage space as well as a unit at Extra Space Storage.
If you happen to know of leasable storage space available at a good rate in the vicinity of Cobb Parkway between Barrett Parkway and Allgood Road, please contact [email protected]
FURNITURE VOLS WANTED
In related news, we almost always need additional furniture volunteers on Saturdays to help us pick up furniture from clients and deliver it to donors. While it can be physically demanding at times, performing this service is incredibly rewarding when you consider that our clients are often sleeping on the floor or otherwise going without anything for their places. “Much of our time is driving from place to place and the volunteers have a lot of great conversations and make good personal connections with each other,” Brenda said. “So in a sense, you can say that moving furniture on the weekends is a lot of fun!”
If you’d like to help out, please email [email protected]
Thanks so much to Kim Gresh, owner and President of SA White Oil Co. for fueling our operations! When Brenda mentioned to Kim that SNGA now had a truck of our own (“East Cobb Church Gave Us a Box Truck. Here’s the Inside Story”), Kim offered to give us free gas! Brenda took it over and Ricky was kind enough to fill it up for us. Says Brenda, “Kim and SA White Oil are simply amazing!”
Check out Kennesaw-based artist Kelly Wright’s awesome website, Awrightcause.com. Kelly paints all kinds of critters and then gives away half the proceeds to charity. Recently, she selected Simple Needs GA to be the recipient of those donations.
Kelly explained why: “I spent several years working as a volunteer facilitator to set up teams to give support care for families who were fostering, then moved from that to a program called Connections Homes that places families with young people aging out of Foster care. That’s when I discovered SNGA, searching out resources to give to one of my ‘kids.’ I’ve been following you guys for a bit, and know what you are doing is super important, and there really isn’t anyone helping out this way. I’m happy to gift back to SNGA.” Says Brenda, “Thanks so much to Kelly for thinking of us. In addition to the donations, she even bought us several most-needed items and shipped them to us!”
Over the summer break, six-year-old Jonah Gaddis and his brother five-year-old Abel Gaddis hosted a lemonade stand and raised $239 for Simple Needs GA!
A local social worker recommended SNGA as the beneficiary. “What resonated with the Gaddis boys is how SNGA provides brand-new toys as birthday gifts for children experiencing homelessness,” said their mom, Mary Hannah Gaddis.
On the day of the sale, the boys set up a simple stand with pink lemonade and a small donation box. As neighbors and friends approached, Jonah explained the cause and Abel collected the money. “People were excited to hear about Simple Needs GA and all they are doing for our community,” Mary Hannah said.
Neighbors sent many of their friends to the stand by word of mouth and social media posts. Some contributions came by way of Venmo from people who wanted to donate but couldn’t attend the sale.
The boys’ parents could have donated online but felt that it would be more meaningful for Jonah and Abel to raise the cash in-person. Brenda gave the family a tour of our Marietta warehouse to see how the donations would be put to use. The children were thrilled to know that the funds they raised from their simple stand will bless their community—and maybe even provide some cool Legos and superhero toys!
YOUNG MEN’S SERVICE LEAGUE PITCHES IN FOR SNGA
The East Cobb chapter of the Young Men’s Service League (YMSL) has been a big supporter of SNGA by pitching in to volunteer. The organization aims “to assist, serve, and support those who are in need in our community, develop leadership skills among its membership and promote mother-son relationships.”
Curi Ahrens of the East Cobb Chapter tells us that YMSL was started 20 years ago in Plano, Texas, and has grown to a national organization with more than 10,400 moms and 11,500 young men serving over 2 million hours since inception in 2001.
The YMSL East Cobb Chapter has approximately 200 mothers serving with their high school sons aged 14-18, with the main high schools represented being Lassiter, Pope, Walton, and Roswell. “We currently work with 15 philanthropies, including Simple Needs GA, to create regular opportunities for mothers and sons to volunteer together in our community,” Curi said.
The chapter’s main categories of support are homelessness/food insecure; women, children, and family services; environmental/garden/clean up; adaptive sports; elder care; and military/veteran support.
In addition to volunteering, YMSL has an education and leadership curriculum for the young men so that they are exposed to different speakers/relevant topics, experiences, and leadership opportunities throughout their four years to prepare them for life after high school, Curi notes.
During the pandemic, members of the East Cobb chapter have focused on boxed food, supply drives, cards for the elder community and military groups, toiletry kits and virtual games. “We look forward to returning to more in person volunteering and a full calendar this year,” Curi said.
Adds Curi: “Our volunteers really enjoyed our time at Simple Needs GA and we really like being able to support local philanthropies knowing the help is going directly to the community we are servicing. SNGA also helps reach many of our groups that we try to serve such as homelessness, food insecure, and women/children/family services, so we are excited to partner with them and to continue to volunteer there.”
CALL FOR WINTER WEAR/BLANKETS/SCHOOL UNIFORMS
As you can see in the evenings, the temperature is starting to drop! That means it’s time for SNGA to start collecting coats, gloves, mittens, hats, scarves for our clients, as well as winter supplies like blankets and sleeping bags for those who live in the woods. We especially need coats for kids (all sizes) and adults.
We take new, clean, gently used items. Consider holding a drive among your friends, family, or neighborhood and church groups.
In addition, with school back in swing, we’re getting requests from clients for required school uniforms. Please consider donating gently used children’s and teens’ khakis, skirts and polo shirts (no school logos, please).
You can bring uniforms and/or winter wear to one of our drives on the first and third Saturdays of the month.
CONSIDER BEING A PART OF SIMPLY CARING!
We call our recurring donation option Simply Caring. If you donate to SNGA (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).” You can use your credit card or a PayPal account for these donations. Another option: signing up for a PayPal Giving Fund account. PayPal Giving Fund charges no fees to enrolled charities, so all of your donations will go to SNGA!
ADDITIONAL WAYS TO HELP SNGA:
HOLD A FACEBOOK BIRTHDAY FUNDRAISER
“I want to thank Simple Needs GA for all you did for my son and me. You helped us with beds so we didn’t have to sleep on the floor, as well as providing a wonderful birthday package for my son’s seventh birthday! That was so awesome of you guys. I appreciate it wholeheartedly. You’re amazing!”
Receiving notes like this is part of what keeps our donors and volunteers so motivated to give back to our community. A great way you can help support our programs is by holding a Facebook birthday or other fundraiser.
AUTO-DONATE VIA AMAZON SMILE!
Amazon Smile allows you to support SNGA even as you shop on your iPad or phone: Just go tosmile.amazon.com, 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! This can really add up over time. Just remember to go to the smile.amazon.com portal before you do your shopping!