Category: Making a Difference

Worth Knowing: TurningPoint helps breast cancer survivors with ‘support puzzle’ of pandemic era

One day in 2015, while riding in the car with her mother, eighth-grader Lauren Scalise overheard her mother Stephanie take a phone call. “She got this random phone call, and we pulled over so she could answer it,” said Lauren. “I was confused until she hung up the phone, looked me in the eyes and told me she had breast cancer.” The two sat by the side of the road in silence while processing what they had just learned, and then the tears flowed. “I couldn’t believe that my strong and resilient mom would be the one going through...

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Atlanta Audubon Society takes new name to reflect statewide mission

Georgia Audubon is the new name for the Buckhead-based bird conservation and education group formerly known as the Atlanta Audubon Society. The group announced the name change Aug. 3, saying it reflects a new statewide focus and partnerships with other National Audubon Society chapters across Georgia. “With an ever-growing list of conservation threats facing Georgia birds and their habitats, there is a clear need for habitat restoration and resilience, education, and community engagement on a statewide level,” said Executive Director Jared Teutsch in a press release. “As Georgia Audubon, we will seek to adopt a broader focus to connect...

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‘Ghost bike’ memorializes Dunwoody cyclist killed in Sandy Springs

A white bicycle chained to a telephone pole on Glenridge Drive in Sandy Springs isn’t an abandoned ride — it’s a memorial to a cyclist who died in a crash on that road, one of many such “ghost bikes” around the state. Felix Mayer, a 57-year-old Dunwoody resident and cyclist, was struck and killed by a driver while riding his bike on April 24. The painted white bicycle is near the scene of the crash to honor Mayer, said David Matthews, founder of the Decatur nonprofit Bike Friendly ATL, who placed the memorial. Matthews said the memorial also demonstrates...

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Buckhead Coalition rethinks its mission, new president says

On July 16, Jim Durrett gave his first “State of Buckhead” address as the new president of the Buckhead Coalition, a position he took in an unprecedented dual role while still serving as executive director of the Buckhead Community Improvement District. But the state of the Coalition, a legendary local nonprofit, was on some attendees’ minds. Durrett had no answer beyond saying the Coalition is rethinking its vision and mission, adding later in an email, “All I can tell you… is that we are in the middle of making changes about how everything operates.” One practical change is already...

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Sandy Springs-based Mercedes-Benz USA extends meals programs through Halloween

Sandy Springs-based Mercedes-Benz USA has extended its COVID-19 relief efforts through Oct. 31 and will donate 21,000 additional meals – 1,000 meals a week – to PAWKids and Second Helpings Atlanta. Both organizations help people facing high risk of food insecurity, MBUSA said in a press release. “The crisis is far from over for our community here, of which we form an inalienable part, as many Atlantans struggle to feed their families, re-engage in work and navigate the many challenges associated with the pandemic,” said Nicholas Speeks, president and CEO of MBUSA, in the release. The organization also extended...

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Solidarity Sandy Springs gets $25K from city for its food pantry

Solidarity Sandy Springs will get $25,000 from the city to feed needy residents in its pop-up pantry. Councilmember Tibby DeJulio made the motion to give the group funds during the July 21 City Council meeting. The pantry was founded to help people struggling due to the pandemic’s economic impact. “Several of us have been to this pantry and have seen the work they’re doing and the people they’re serving,” DeJulio said. “We have got so many people here in Sandy Springs who are actually hungry who are poor and are depending on the generosity and the services of people...

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Dunwoody Nature Center replaces annual Monarchs & Margaritas with online fundraiser

Dunwoody Nature Center has canceled its biggest yearly fundraiser because of COVID-19 safety concerns and will instead do an online fundraiser challenge. Monarchs & Margaritas, which is an upscale casual party usually held at the nature center at 5343 Roberts Drive, helps fund the center’s programming and operations. “After considering multiple options including virtual or live stream events, there is too much uncertainty and financial risk to plan a top notch event,” a nature center press release reads. CRH, a building materials company headquartered in Dunwoody, was going to sponsor the event but instead gave a general donation to...

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Chattahoochee River NRA friends group works on fishing pier, trail study and park improvements

A nonprofit friends group for the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area formed relatively recently, in 2012, but its volunteers have already undertaken big projects. A kids’ fishing pier at Island Ford in Sandy Springs, a comprehensive trail study and a new stairway improving access in the Vickery Creek Unit are a few of the projects by the Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy, said board president Phillip Hodges. “The National Park Service would like for all national park units to have a friends’ group,” Hodges said, and Conservancy fills that role. The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (NRA) has a big...

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Community Assistance Center thrift store to reopen July 6 in Sandy Springs

Upscale Thrift, the Community Assistance Center’s retail thrift center in Sandy Springs, will reopen for limited hours on July 6 with social distancing rules in effect. The thrift shop at 8607 Roswell Road is open to the public and to CAC clients who purchase clothes with vouchers. Store hours for retail and voucher shopping will be Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The thrift shop will open for clothing and home goods donations on Tuesday and Thursday in July from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The store has followed public health safety guidelines intended to...

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Sandy Springs Society awards 30 nonprofits $258K in grants

The Sandy Springs Society awarded $258,000 in grants to 30 nonprofit organizations that serve the Sandy Springs community. The charitable organization of women supports programs improving the quality of life for city residents. Nonprofits that get support promote the arts, education, the environment, heritage and social services. “The Society is proud of the local impact we have with grants to organizations that contribute a tremendous amount of good work every year to improve the quality of life of the residents of Sandy Springs.” said president Susan Sutterfield. “We were particularly thrilled to be able to fund the social service...

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Solidarity Sandy Springs Food Pantry opens in new location

The Solidarity Sandy Springs Food Pantry is celebrating a new location on Northwood Drive this weekend with open houses on June 27 and 28. After forming to serve school families who had difficulties in getting food once the COVID-19 pandemic closed businesses and caused layoffs or furloughs, the food pantry had to change locations. The new location at 120 Northwood Drive, Suite 155, off Roswell Road just south of I-285. The organization is in a fund drive to raise $25,000 that will be matched by a donor, which the organization said was welcome news after the city of Sandy...

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‘Day of Action’ offers free meals, groceries to Buford Highway community June 27

Community organizations are teaming up to supply boxes of meals and groceries to food-insecure people along the Buford Highway corridor for the second “Day of Action.” The distribution of the ready-to-heat meals, groceries and bread will begin at either 10 or 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 27, depending on the distribution center. Lily Pabian, executive director of the community group We Love BuHi, said that, because of economic hardships from the COVID-19 pandemic, families in the Buford Highway community have had more problems with food insecurity, or the inability to get adequate food for the household. Many food banks...

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