Growing Communities with Green of Hearts

Sometimes a hobby can turn into a passion, and that passion can change your community. Such was the case for Bonita Cason-Atlow.

After finding herself out of a job she held for twenty years, she found herself searching for purpose. She found it in a perfectly-heart shaped green tomato she pulled from her garden.

With her free time, she started gardening more, and took some of her fruits and vegetables to Interfaith Outreach Homes, a housing development for low-income individuals. She donated more than 20 types of food, and the staff were ecstatic.

Atlow took her love of gardening and whole foods and took it to the people of Atlanta. Now, her nonprofit Green of Hearts works with individuals and organizations to build community gardens and teach groups how growing and cultivating their own food can lead to healthier, more sustainable lifestyles.

Green of Hearts mission is to is to “alleviate societal issues concerning malnutrition, hunger, and obesity within populations at risk by establishing gardens – and a mindset – wherever there is an open space and a need.”

They achieve this mission through programming all over the city, working to turn black thumbs green. With their Senior Horticulture Education program, Green of Hearts works with senior citizens in an hour of gardening and garden-themed crafts. Then, to further help the community at large, the organization works with community groups, schools, churches, and residential centers to work on installing gardens and teach ways to cultivate and maintain them.

One of their biggest projects is with the Interfaith Outreach Home, as part of their efforts to create immersive community support. They work with residents and families to teach gardening and life skills, and show families how to incorporate the food and skills into their daily lives.

Through their community gardens, Green of Hearts hopes to inhibit community ownership, engage self-sufficiency, help citizens control obesity, provide access to nutritional foods for low-income families, and increase physical activity.

Atlow hopes to inspire people on the benefits of community gardening. “Cultivating and changing the way something is currently being used is a way to bring people together,” she said. “The goal is that we grow and share and sit down and have a meal together. I think we’ve forgotten how to just sit and talk and look at each other.”

“We are changing our direction of the way we view life,” she closed. “We are putting our hands together and doing something.”

The organization is always looking for volunteers to help with garden installations, garden maintenance, and carpentry. Volunteers can sign up and help out as individuals or in groups. The nonprofit is also always in need of financial support to carry out its programs, and donations go toward gardening equipment, seeds and plants, community outreach, and operations. Those interested can sign up or donate on Green of Hearts’ website at www.greenofhearts.org.

Goodwill Donation Do’s and Don’ts

Donations

When you donate to Goodwill of North Georgia, you’re supporting our mission to put people to work. Revenue generated by your gently-used household goods supports 13 local career centers and tob training and placement services in industries ranging from logistics to retail. In fact, donors like you will allow us to put 23,000 people to work this year!

do's and don'ts

Next time you feel inspired to donate, there are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind before you head to Goodwill. Here are some tips:

•    Don’t wait to donate. Clutter today will be clutter tomorrow. If you are ready to clear some space in the closet, carpe diem! There will always be reasons to put off a trip to your local donation center, but there is no better feeling than giving back while simplifying your life. Find the Goodwill donation center nearest you at goodwillng.org/locations.

•    Do your homework. Not all thrift stores are charities, and some for-profit companies solicit donations under the name of charities while giving them little or none of the proceeds. “We operate our own stores and donation centers, which directly fund Goodwill job training programs and employment services right here in North Georgia. If consumers can’t clearly see how their donations benefit the community, they might want to think twice donating to that organization,” says Summer Dunham, director of PR for Goodwill.

•    Do double check. The last thing you want to do is donate something you planned to keep. Pant pockets, desk drawers, suitcases and even books can serve as holding places for things we don’t immediately need. “Give each item a good check before adding it to the donations pile, and if you’re packing up items for someone else, be sure they’ve removed anything they intended to hang on to.” For families with little ones, make sure the items they aren’t quite ready to let go of don’t accidentally fall into the donation pile.

•    Don’t forget your receipt. Donations made to Goodwill are tax deductible. Just be sure to keep a record of what you donate and its value. “With our Donation Tracker, it’s easier than ever for you to keep track of donations you’ve made throughout the year. Don’t worry about hanging on to paper donation receipts. Once you’ve registered a donation in our system, you can access an electronic receipt at any time and print an annual summary.”

Happy donating, and thanks for your support!

Three Thrifty Tips for Spring Fashion

The change in seasons can often leave us wondering what to wear. Luckily, if there’s a Goodwill – there’s a way.

  1. Layer up. Many spring mornings are chilly, but the afternoons can really heat up. Adding layers to your outfit not only adds a great accessory, but also functionality in this season of inconsistent temperatures. See what variety of cardigans, vests and jackets are waiting for you at your local Goodwill.
  2. Bright colors and prints. Feeling like you don’t have enough spring colors or prints in your closet? No worries. Goodwill has ample colors and a variety of prints to choose from. Mix and match some of your favorite colors with some of your favorite prints for multiple spring looks.Spring-17_Social_SHOP
  3. Statement pieces. A pair of flower patterned heels or bold colored jewelry can add the perfect pop to your outfit. Statement pieces are meant to add a little fun to your outfit, so why not have fun thrifting for them at your local Goodwill?

Three Thrifty Tips jewelry

Resolve to be Successful at Work

ResolveJohn Maxwell once said, “You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” Each year 45-percent of Americans set resolutions for the new year. Of this 45-percent, only 8-percent are successful in achieving their resolution. To make 2017 your most successful one yet, consider these simple and achievable workplace resolutions to add to your routine, along with tips for maintaining them.

1. Listen and communicate effectively. Being an effective communicator begins with listening. This year, try to not leave people waiting for answers. Keep your coworkers updated, thank them if they’ve helped you and don’t be afraid to ask questions when needed.

2. Stretch yourself to grow. Start with asking yourself, “How can I go above and beyond?” Stepping out of your work comfort zone will allow you to expand your knowledge, as well as your experience.

3. Get fit. After a season full of cookies and holiday parties, it’s no surprise that getting fit is one of the most common resolutions. Getting fit is not only beneficial for your health, it is also helpful in creating success in the workplace. Adding simple activities to your routine, such as going for a 20-minute walk, will increase your likelihood of living a healthy lifestyle and sticking to this resolution. Don’t forget, a healthy body creates a healthy mind.

4. Maintain a healthy work-life balance. With technology allowing workers to stay in constant communication with work, this resolution may seem almost impossible. But all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Remember to reward your hard work with some well-deserved play. Drawing clear lines and sticking to them may even help you stay sharper while on the job and help you resolve workplace issues more efficiently.

5 Tips for Winter Thrifting

Wintry weather is a great excuse to catch up on some shopping! To stay up on the latest trends and brace for cooler climates while going easy on your wallet, consider visiting a Goodwill near you for some second-hand treasures. Here are a few tips to make your winter thrifting a breeze:

  1. Layer up and accessorize. Winter is the perfect season to bundle up in layers and accessories. Scarves, hats and cardigans all add to your winter look while keeping you warm. For extra chilly days you may even want to throw in mittens and earmuffs. Look for colors and patterns you love to find the right balance of comfort and style. hat
  2. Be on the lookout for daily deals and specials. Of course this tip doesn’t strictly apply to winter. As a thrifter, being aware of daily deals is important because it’s a smart way to save even more while thrifting. Stay up to date with the Color of the Week deals (the color changes every Sunday), senior discount day on Tuesdays and Thank You Thursdays for veterans, firefighters, police and EMS workers.
  3. Find your winter coat, without spending a fortune. With a wide variety of fabrics to choose from, search for coats that will keep you warmest this winter! Our stores are regularly stocked with a variety of winter coats. Whether you prefer wool, fleece, down, leather or cotton, there’s a good chance your local Goodwill has exactly what you’re looking for. Winter coats don’t have to cost a fortune, especially if you know you’ll only wear it four months out of the year. clothesrack
  4. Don’t limit your search to sizing! Winter is a season where oversized sweaters can be fashionable, and of course, cozy. Check out sections with the colors you’re looking for and remember to not be scared to buy a size or two bigger!
  5. Jeans. Jeans. Jeans. Can one ever have too many pairs of jeans? Dark colored jeans, light colored jeans, skinny jeans, flare jeans, jeans with holes or even high waist jeans. Shopping for jeans can be overwhelming and exhausting, but save the stress and your money because there’s a pair for everyone at Goodwill. jeans

For more thrifting tips and inspiration visit our Pinterest page at https://www.pinterest.com/goodwillng/. Find a Goodwill store near you at www.goodwillng.org/locations.

Check Out the AJC’s How-To Guide on Thrifting

Goodwill of North Georgia got a shout out from the AJC’s Access Atlanta section in “5 hacks for thrifting Atlanta’s consignment racks” by Sarah Buehrle. There are some great tips in the article, and we are honored to have made the cut!

An additional thrifting tip for our stores includes shopping the discount days. Every Tuesday is Senior Discount Day and we have Thank You Thursdays for service workers, including military personnel, firefighters, police officers and emergency medical services employees. Of course our Color of the Week rotation starts over every Sunday and is available to all shoppers.

Do you have any thrifting tips of your own? Share them in the comments section below! As always, happy hunting to all…

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