Helping Hand: 5 Ways to Give Back in Forsyth County, GA This Holiday Season

holiday canned good drive cumming gaThe holidays are not always a happy time for families. Many people are struggling due to an illness, a job loss or other life changing event. If you would like to give back this holiday season, here are a few local organizations that would love your help making sure families have a brighter Christmas.

There are many opportunities to volunteer, donate and give back to the community. See our list of Local Nonprofits in Cumming, GA list as well.

Angels Over Forsyth

Sponsor a child who is in foster care this Christmas.  This effort is coordinated by  Angels Over Forsyth, a community-driven, volunteer program which ensures these children have the best Christmas possible.  As the holiday season nears, Angels Over Forsyth is seeking assistance in making Christmas and the Holiday season brighter for foster children and families in need living in our community. We are in need of persons who can sponsor a child in need. We are asking that sponsors spend approximately $150.00 per child. Find out more information on the Angels Over Forsyth website.

Donate Canned Food to a Food Drive

If you want to give regularly, sign up for Food for Thought Project. Fill your grocery cart with a few extra items each visit and fill the orange bag. On the pickup date which is a few times a year, simply place the orange bag on your porch by 9:00 am and it will be distributed to many local area food pantries.

If you want to give this holiday season, find a local food drive drop off location for Feed the Hungry Forsyth.

  • Judith Taylor Salon/Blue Fern Spa, 335 Peachtree Industrial Blvd, Suwanee, GA 30024
  • DeVry University, 2555 Northwinds PKWY, Alpharetta, GA 30009
  • DeVry University, One West Court Square, STE 100, Decatur, GA 30030
  • Keller William Community Partners, 540 Lake Center PKWY, Cumming, GA 30040
  • GA Vein Institute, 4415 Front Nine DR, STE 600, Cumming, GA 30041
  • Vestra Logistics, 2450 Atlanta HWY, STE 1903, Cumming, Georgia 30040
  • Homestar Financial, 202 Canton Road, STE 102, Cumming, GA 30040
  • North Forsyth High School, 3635 Coal Mountain DR, Cumming, GA 30028
    (Drop off in the Atrium)
  • The Learning Experience, 450 Brannon RD, Cumming, GA 30041

Please check HolidayCannedGoodDrive.org, or www.FeedForsyth.org for a complete updated listing of participating locations and suggested food items to donate. For more information, contact info@feedforsyth.org or 678-807-9120

Forsyth Fire Begins Aerial’s House Toy Collection for Needy Children in December

Toy and clothing donations may be dropped off at fire stations, fire headquarters in Cumming, beginning in December, or any of the county’s library branches. (the details have not yet been announced for 2014 – I will update this when they do)

Give the Gift of Meals to Local Seniors This Holiday Season

Senior Services offers Home-Delivered Meals Gift Certificate Program

Help brighten the holiday season for Forsyth County home-bound senior citizens by participating in the 2014 Home-Delivered Meals Holiday Gift Certificate Program. Meals purchased with a holiday gift certificate through Forsyth County Senior Services will be delivered through the Meals on Wheels program.

Those interested in participating may choose to provide meals for a day, week, month or year. The cost is $3.61 for one meal, $18.05 for one week, $79.42 for one month, and $938.60 for the entire year. Gifts may be tax-deductible.  Checks should be made payable to Forsyth County Senior Services, Holiday Gift Certificate Program and may be mailed or delivered to the following address:

Forsyth County Senior Services
2115 Chloe Road
Cumming, GA 30041

All meals delivered from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day will include a special certificate to wish happy holidays from the meal provider.  Senior Services has set a goal of delivering 4,000 meals to local senior citizens this holiday season.  For more information about this program, please call Forsyth County Senior Services at 770.781.2178.

Senior Services Seeks Holiday Gift Angels for Community’s Senior Citizens

Annual Program helps bring holiday cheer to local seniors

Be a holiday angel to a local senior citizen in need by participating in the 2014 Holiday Gift Angels Program. The program is presented by Forsyth County Senior Services.  The gift request tags from senior citizens are now available at the following Forsyth County Senior Services locations:

Center at Charles Place
595 Dahlonega Street
open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Sexton Hall Enrichment Center
2115 Chloe Road
open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Hearthstone Lodge Community Center
7305 Lanier Drive
open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Each gift request tag contains the name of a local senior citizen along with a gift idea for him/her. Those participating in the program may deliver the unwrapped gift in a gift bag with the gift request tag attached (or another tag with the senior’s name and route number) to any of the three Forsyth County Senior Services locations weekdays until December 1.   Call Forsyth County Senior Services at 770.781.2178 to receive additional information about the 2014 Holiday Gift Angels Program.

 

Giving Back: SAFFT Needs Forsyth County Community Help

SAFFT in Forsyth County, GAI just visited the lovely people at SAFFT, Supporting Adoption & Foster Families Together. I donated a bag of stuffed animals for the foster children. They were so thankful and I know my girls will be happy that they will bring smiles to foster children in Forsyth County, GA.

My friend has adopted two children and is active with this nonprofit, so I had recently heard of them. I took a tour of SAFFT and learned more about the organization. They offer supervised visitation for foster children and their families. They have an art room, a play room and a backyard with toys.

“The SAFFT Family Visitation and Community Center is located in Cumming, Georgia. This supervised visitation center offers services such as parenting classes, case management, and supervised visitation. Our center works directly with the Juvenile Court, CASA, GALs, and the Department of Family and Children Services. All visits are video surveillanced and documentation of the visits are provided to the parties involved in the cases. Referrals are accepted directly from the Juvenile Court, Superior Court, and DFCS staff.”

I have a Junior Girl Scout troop and I asked them what kind of help and support that they needed from the community. They gave me a wish list and ideas for their upcoming open house, parents night out (they need volunteers), monthly craft sponsors, snack bag donations and more.

So, how can we as a community help?

  • You can give money.
  • You can donate items – provide diapers and wipes, paper towels, paper plates & cups, disenfectant wipes, art supplies, stuffed animals, toys, crafts, games, backyard toys and more.
  • You can volunteer – they have many events in the community and have an open house coming up soon. For more information, contact the SAFFT office.

Give them a call – they would be happy to hear from you!

Here is their story:

“In 2008, two foster parents in Forsyth County, deeply affected by a tough situation fostering a child, felt lost, burnt out, unsupported, and unsure about whether they should continue fostering or give up. They felt that they were traveling this journey called “fostering” alone. So, they decided to start a support group for foster and adoptive families. The group initially began meeting on a monthly basis at the local public library and started to support one another. Quickly, the community started to rally around our group and volunteers began providing child care for our support group meetings. This allowed everyone to participate and for the first time the foster children could begin interacting and fellowshipping with others like themselves. A monthly “Parent Night Out” program was established which enabled more contact between the children in care and provided a break for the families that care for them so often. After just a few meetings, the founders decided to form a board of directors.

SAFFT began supporting multiple programs including a child resource closet,  scholarships for foster and adoptive children to participate in extracurricular activities, a monthly “Parent Night Out”, social and support group meetings, as well as constant awareness and trainings. In June of 2010 SAFFT opened the Community & Family Visitation Center located in Cumming, GA. The vision for this center was to provide families a safe, uniquely comfortable, reassuring, and accessible homelike environment in which a structured, neutral alternative to unsupervised visitation can take place. This supervised visitation is the provision and maintenance of a safe, neutral setting in which the contact between a child (ren) and an adult (usually a parent) can be monitored by personnel able to protect the rights and safety of all involved.  The SAFFT Family Visitation & Community Center also offers an individualized, needs based parenting curriculum to enhance a caretaker’s ability to provide a nurturing and structured home environment. This parenting curriculum satisfies Juvenile Court and Department of Family & Children Services court ordered parenting requirements.

The Center now serves hundreds of people a year. SAFFT continues to launch new and unique programs with the goal to serve our families in the most need and help support those loving caregivers who provide a temporary or permanent home for children in broken families. The board of directors still includes some of the original founding board members and the original co-founders of the organization.”

The SAFFT Family Visitation & Community Center schedules supervised visitation and parenting services between the days and hours as follows:

    • Tuesday-Friday   10am-7pm
    • Saturday 9am-4pm
    • CLOSED Sundays and Mondays

Supporting Adoption & Foster Families Together, Inc., 608 Veterans Memorial Blvd. Cumming, GA 30040 Office: (770) 886-9505

Thrift Stores in Forsyth County – Shopping for a Cause.

humane society of forsyth county thrift storeI recently donated some kids clothing and toys to the Humane Society of Forsyth County’s new thrift store. It is located off Ga. 20 in a strip mall near the Publix and Big Lots. They take donations of household items, goods, clothing, furniture, and more.

I went in to shop and was surprised at the size of the store and wide selection of items. It is run by volunteers of the Humane Society of Forsyth County and all proceeds go to help the animals at this shelter. It was rewarding to donate and shop at this neat thrift store knowing that I was helping this wonderful no-kill animal shelter.

Here is a list of other thrift stores in Forsyth County that help a cause:

Humane Society of Forsyth County Thrift Store – 168 Tri-County Plaza, Cumming, Georgia. Hours: Monday-Friday 10:00am to 6:00pm, Saturday 10:00am to 5:00pm. Donations are accepted 10:00am to 5:00pm  Monday-Saturday. If you have furniture or large items please call 770-886-5806 to schedule a pick up.

Abba House Thrift Stores in Silver City 6800 Dahlonega Highway Cumming, Ga 30028, and Dawsonville at 243 Stowers Road E Dawsonville, Ga 30534. Abba House Thrift Store location hours are Monday – Saturday from 9:00am – 5:45pm. At Abba House, their ministries are focused on “helping broken women be made whole” by helping them break free from addiction and abuse.

The PIER Thrift Store & Consignment Center provides individuals with disabilities work experience, thereby enabling them to discover and develop their unique capabilities and potential, and to help them achieve the highest degree of independence and the best quality of life possible. Located at 5185 Browns Bridge Rd. Cumming, GA 30041 & 1862 Buford Highway in Cumming. Open Tuesday-Saturday – 10:00-6:00 P.M.

Family Haven Thrift Store is located at 598 Veterans Memorial Blvd. Cumming, GA 30040. Forsyth County Family Haven’s Thrift Store serves two very unique and vital functions for our organization. Victims of violence and their families are offered vouchers to shop in our store and obtain the items that they need free of charge. The vouchers enable individuals to select clothing for themselves and for their children, household items such as coffemakers and dishes, and furniture items like couches and chairs to assist them as they move into their self-supportive housing. Secondly, our thrift store is open to the public after our clients have selected the items that they need. The funds that are obtained from sales to the public go into the operating fund for Forsyth County Family Haven, Inc. Hours are 10:00 AM-6:00 PM Mondays through Fridays and 10:00 AM-5:00 PM Saturdays. Donations welcome.

No Longer Bound Thrift Store is located at 315 Dahlonega Hwy in downtown Cumming, Ga.  We offer an upscale retail environment offering a wide variety of affordably priced inventory for your shopping pleasure. No Longer Bound Resale is a non-profit industry of the men’s regeneration program, No Longer Bound. To learn a little more about our program and about how lives are saved, check out our main page at www.nolongerbound.com. Open Mondays – Saturdays from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm.

The Place of Forsyth County Thrift Store – 2550 The Place Circle, Cumming, GA 30040. The Place is a nonprofit Social Service Organization that has been serving Forsyth County families in difficult times since 1975 with emergency basic needs.

Thrift Store

Monday – Thursday       9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday       9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Donations – Drop off in the back of the building
Monday – Saturday          9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

 

Food for Thought Project – An Ongoing Community-Based Food Drive in Forsyth County, GA

Food for Thought ProjectLooking to give back to the community? Want to help the needy?

Thanks to two local families, Forsyth County now has Food for Thought Project, a community-based ongoing food drive that residents are supporting in growing numbers. The number of families is currently at 426 supporting the drive and has collected a total of 16,232 lb. since they formed in June 2011.

The concept is simple, sign up for free and you will receive an orange shopping bag. Simply buy an extra item or two every time you go grocery shopping, put it in the bag and on the second Saturday of every other month, hang the bag outside your front door for pickup.

Volunteers pick up the bags, sort them at a storage facility and distribute among local food pantries at local churches and organizations.

Looking to help even more? Volunteers are also needed to pick up food as well as sort and distribute.

Mia’s Pizza and Eats is also supporting the Food for Thought drive. Bring in a canned item for the Food for Thought food drive and they will donate 10% of your meal to the project.

Clean House and Support a Good Cause – Forsyth Freecycle

Now that Fall is here, it is time to pull out the warmer clothes and do a little shuffling of summer clothes and other items in closet. One group that I have supported for a few years is Forsyth Freecycle.

If you have any items that you can’t or don’t want to sell, but want to get rid of, think about joining this group and posting your message. I have donated everything from a stationary bicycle to printers to kids clothes and shoes. There is a wonderful community out there willing to share with you and keep things out of the dump at the same time.

One man’s junk really is another’s treasure! I have just finally received some items for my girls after years of giving, and it truly is a rewarding experience.

Holiday Tidings and Call for Volunteers

It is the two-week holiday break for my children and a busy time of year for us all. I wanted to take a moment and thank you for reading my blog, which started out as an online diary to chronicle my family’s adventures in Forsyth County! I appreciate your readership and I am thankful for a blessed life.

I will be taking a short Christmas break and returning to blog next week to resume letting you know about all things Forsyth County, GA for families! Until then, check out my Facebook page and Twitter feed as I will be updating anything local as I come across it. Please also share on my Facebook page if you find anything exciting to share for other families.

Here are a few tidbits of events going on this week plus a call for volunteers and sponsors for local nonprofits.

May your holidays be safe, merry and bright!

Holiday Giving Tree for Kids program, via the Forsyth County YMCA, will be accepting donations of clothing, toys, school supplies and other gifts throughout the holiday season. Many children are still in need of sponsorship. To become a community partner, donor and/or volunteer, contact Jerry Dupree via e-mail at jerryd@ymcaatlanta.org.

The Sounds of Sawnee Concert Band will perform its sixth annual Christmas concert at 8 p.m. Dec. 22 at the Cumming Playhouse. Joining the band will be the Shades of Grace Choir of Cumming First Baptist Church. Musical selections include “Deck the Halls,” Handel’s “Hallelujah” chorus, and more. For more information, visit www.soundsofsawnee.com, or contact Garth True at (770) 205-6000.

A fundraiser concert benefitting Family Haven domestic violence shelter will be at 6 p.m. Dec. 22 during the Christmas light display on Bryn Ridge Court in the Haley Farms subdivision. Judy Pancoast, a Grammy-nominated recording artist for the song “The House on Christmas Street,” will perform. Donations of cash and goods will accepted as admission. The neighborhood holiday light and music show will be ongoing through New Year’s Day, from 5:30-9 p.m. Monday-Friday and 5:30-10 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Donations for Family Haven will be accepted every night.

Foster homes for cats and dogs and holiday volunteers are needed urgently through the Humane Society of Forsyth County No-kill Shelter. Regular and short-term foster homes needed. For more information, contact Laurie Hutchins, foster home/adoption chairwoman at rescue@forsythpets.org or (770) 889-1365 or go online at www.forsythpets.com and click “volunteer.”

DONATIONS

Act Together Ministries needs Christmas sponsors to provide toys and clothing to struggling families with young children. For more information, visit www.actogetherministries.org, or call Act Together Ministries at (678) 200-9125.

Many nonprofits are struggling during these hard times – donations of time, goods and money are greatly appreciated. Read my article in Around About Cumming, GA about local nonprofits in the Cumming, GA area and get involved today!

Donate, Volunteer, Give and Make a Difference in Forsyth County, GA

Every season I like to do a bit of cleaning in the house. For the girls, it means time to donate outgrown clothes and toys. There are many places in and around Cumming, GA that you can donate your gently used goods. If you are looking for volunteer opportunities, these wonderful nonprofits would be happy for your services.

Here are a few organizations that we have donated items to for a good cause.

The Children’s Center for Hope & HealingWish List – dedicated to stopping the cycle of child sexual abuse and to preventing the exploitation of children. CCHH has an office in Cumming as well as in Gainesville on the square.

The Place of Forsyth County, GA – housewares, clothing, food donations for all ages.

Forsyth County Family Haven – shelter for victims of domestic violence – accepts food, baby goods, etc. Wish list on web site.

Goodwill of North Georgia – housewares, clothing for all ages.

Forsyth County Freecycle – post items that you want to give away, pick a recipient that responds, they pick it up!

United Way of Forsyth County - donate, give, volunteer locally.

Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office – donate stuffed animals for children who are victims of domestic violence.

Faith’s House – empowering single moms to better their lives through education. Donation and volunteer opportunities.

Abba House – long-term residential ministry where women with substance abuse and mental health issues can have a safe place to learn to receive God’s love and forgiveness. Volunteers welcome and thrift store located on Keith Bridge Road in Cumming, GA.

Forsyth County Humane Society – no-kill animal shelter. Seeks volunteers, donations. New thrift store in Tri-County Plaza on Highway 9 between Big Lots and Golds Gym in Cumming, GA. Open Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. Donations needed!

Here is a comprehensive list of some other charitable organizations in an around metro Atlanta.

What is your favorite place to donate to?

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