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Simple Needs GA Fills in the Spaces for Those in Need

By Elisha Neubauer

Simple Needs GA is there when you need them most, meeting the most basic of needs that some families have been missing due to unfortunate circumstances.

This Marietta non-profit stemmed from one woman's desire to do more and to do her part to help those facing challenges in her community. Brenda Rhodes started out volunteering her time at the Elizabeth Inn, a local emergency shelter run by the MUST Ministries. She noticed many people checking into the shelter were coming in with nothing but the clothes on their back.

"My family and I started buying full-size hygiene items and duffel bags then filled those bags (in my house or garage) and gave them to new residents at the shelter," Rhodes explains. "A short while later (when I lost my job and had time during the day), I started volunteering with those who live in the woods or on the streets and saw that they needed tents, sleeping bags, tarps, candles and camping supplies."

As these items were costly, it got Rhodes thinking about starting a non-profit. She began taking online classes with the KSU Continuing Education program and researching the ins and outs of launching a non-profit agency.

During this time, she also began facilitating a furniture donation operation in which friends and family members of hers could donate their spare furniture to those moving out of the shelter into their own homes. "When someone offered me a washer and dryer I didn't need for anyone, I started looking for warehouse space in which to store furniture," Rhodes explains. "I met someone who offered us free space and then in June 2010, mainly because our landlord required us to have insurance, I created Simple Needs GA."

Over the years, the organization was forced to downsize its warehouse space, causing them to scale back on their furniture donation program. Since then, however, Rhodes has added several new programs in its place, most having to do with underprivileged children.

"One of our board members wanted to help kids with birthdays because she as a child often did not get anything for her birthday," Rhodes details. "I met with some school social workers and asked for their greatest needs that weren't met. They said new shoes and cleaning supplies."

Rhodes continued to meet with school officials, learning that quite a few were seeking school uniforms. "Last year, we started a Christmas program," she says. "And this year we partnered with my church on a food program. So now we have eight programs."

Rhodes explains that Simple Needs is there to satisfy needs that often get forgotten. "In Cobb County, there are a lot of great nonprofit agencies trying to tackle complex problems such as assisting families with clothes and food, helping folks recover from drugs or alcohol, giving them job training, helping women and children escape from abusive situations, or building houses for the homeless," Rhodes affirms.

"But if you think about it, people also have all kinds of simpler needs that might fall through the cracks." She adds, "We strive to fill in the gaps by helping people be more comfortable in the situation they are currently in."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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