Category: Making a Difference

Volunteers harvest Dunwoody Farmhouse pears for a cause

Volunteers harvested pears from a tree at the historic Dunwoody Farmhouse at Mount Vernon and Chamblee-Dunwoody roads on July 14. More than 280 pounds of pears were taken from the tree in the annual event and donated to the Community Assistance Center in Sandy Springs and Malachi’s Storehouse at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church on North Peachtree Road, both of which give groceries to those in need. Volunteers included City Councilmember John Heneghan and a group from Temple Emanu-El, among others. Photos by Phil Mosier. Pears come raining down from a tree onto a tarp held by volunteer harvesters Volunteers...

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Toiletry drive for homeless veterans starts July 4

A toiletry drive for homeless veterans, with a drop-off location in Sandy Springs’ medical center, will begin July 4 and run through Sept. 7. The seventh annual “Stand Up for Stand Down” drive is sponsored by the nonprofit Georgia District Pilot International Clubs and Georgia Cancer Specialists, an affiliate of Northside Hospital Cancer Institute. According to organizers, last year’s drive collected more than 10,000 pounds of toiletry items in 2,000 “comfort bags” – so many that excess items went to other nonprofits for distributions to hurricane survivors. The drive is seeking travel- or sample-size toiletry and personal care items,...

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Parent raises money for Dunwoody High teacher who lost house in fire

Parents of a Dunwoody High School student have raised over $9,000 so far to help Jermaine Searles, a coach and teacher at the school who lost his house in an April 27 fire. “We are absolutely thrilled to see the Dunwoody community rally around Coach Searles and his family. I believe it’s times like these when community really shines,” said Katie Phillips, who started the fundraiser. The online campaign surpassed its $5,000 goal in less than 24 hours. “Well, you see how fast the word spread and we’ve been receiving donations from all over the city, even from people...

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Standout Student: Max Rubenstein, The Galloway School

To help cheer up children in local hospitals, Galloway School senior Max Rubinstein started a nonprofit to collect and donate video games. Game Givers has so far collected hundreds of games and donated them through a partnership with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. This spring, Max was recognized as a top youth volunteer in Georgia in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, which is awarded with $1,000, an engraved silver medal and a trip to Washington, D.C. for four days of events. Max wanted a way to continue the legacy of his grandmother, who also loved video games and died...

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CAC cuts ribbon on new facility to fight homelessness and hunger

The Community Assistance Center cut the ribbon May 1 on an expanded facility – including a larger, customer-friendly food pantry — that the nonprofit says will increase its mission of preventing homelessness and hunger in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs. And there’s more expansion to come for the 30-year-old organization, as a long-awaited satellite office in southern Sandy Springs is expected to open in about a month. Advocates say that is all crucial help in a time of growing suburban poverty. “This is a dream come true,” said Tamara Carrera, the CAC’s chief executive officer, during the grand opening of...

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Comedian Jeff Foxworthy to recieve Buckhead Rotary award

Actor and comedian Jeff Foxworthy will receive the Buckhead Rotary’s highest humanitarian award for his work with Atlanta Mission, a downtown homeless services organization. Foxworthy will receive the 18th annual Rev. Robert Ross Johnson Humanitarian of the Year Award at an April 23 luncheon. The event will be held at Maggiano’s Little Italy, 3368 Peachtree Road, from noon to 1:15 p.m. It is free for Buckhead Rotary members and $25 for guests. For more information, click here.  Foxworthy has led Bible studies at the Atlanta Mission for eight years after being approached by a man associated with the men’s...

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Cars, barbecue and a very personal cause

When it comes down to it, every fundraiser is about helping people. But at Cars & ’Q for the Cause, a Sandy Springs tradition that raised $330,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation last year alone, the effort is downright personal. Starting in 2009 as a small car show and barbecue in the company parking lot, the event is a way for Choate Construction’s founders to try to save the life of close family friend Leann Rittenbaum Ott, who was born with CF. Attendees not only see some cool cars and enjoy food, beer and music, but they also usually...

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Buckhead banker to be honored at senior housing fundraiser

Buckhead banker and community leader Merritt Bond will be recognized by the Foundation of Wesley Woods at its annual fundraiser in April for his work to address the challenges facing vulnerable older adults. “We, as Georgians, have a responsibility to care for others because the people that we have counted on to do so much for the community as they age are often forgotten,” Bond said in a press release. “Many of them don’t have the resources to care for themselves in their later years and that’s why I consider the work of Wesley Woods so important.” Bond is...

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Battling hunger, one backpack at a time

Ice and snow had paralyzed Atlanta for two straight days, but at the first sign of thawing, Ronald and Samra Robbins headed out on their weekly mission. They were off to a former storage room at Dunwoody’s Congregation Beth Shalom, a room filled with shelves of food and work tables. This space has become operations central for Backpack Buddies, a program launched by Ronald and Samra in November. Backpack Buddies provides six weekend meals for 50 children at Kingsley Elementary School, where 55 percent of 500 students qualify for free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch. “Twenty percent of all...

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‘Volunteer for a Better Sandy Springs Day’ returns April 21

“Volunteer for a Better Sandy Springs Day,” one of the biggest volunteer events in the city, returns April 21 with activities at 20 local organizations and public schools. Sponsored by Leadership Sandy Springs, the events will run 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., with a kickoff at North Springs Charter High School, 7447 Roswell Road. For registration and more information, see the Leadership Sandy Springs website...

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Ronald McDonald House fundraiser runs coming to Pill Hill March 17

A new 5K and kids’ “Fun Run” event to benefit the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities is coming to Sandy Springs’ Medical Center area on March 17. Ronald McDonald Houses provide housing for families of ailing children when they are treated in local hospitals, with no costs for those who can’t afford to pay. The Atlanta branch of the charity operates two houses, including one on Peachtree-Dunwoody Road in the Medical Center that opened a new building in 2015. The debut running event will be held on St. Patrick’s Day at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital buildings at 5673 Peachtree-Dunwoody...

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Around Town: A ‘family photographer’ for refugees

When Lauren Hutson was little, she enjoyed watching her grandfather take their family’s photos. He was their Family Photographer, “the historian of our family,” Lauren’s mom recalled recently. “She was always amazed.” Lauren decided that someday she wanted to do that, too. When she was in the sixth grade, her parents bought a Canon Rebel that was supposed to be a “family camera” shared by everyone. That didn’t happen. “She took it over. It was a ‘family camera’ that no one else in the family touched,” her mother, Lisa Hutson, remembered with a smile. Lauren loved taking pictures. She...

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