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Column: Backpack supplies needed for poor students
by Sally F. White
Neighbor Newspapers Columnist
July 23, 2014 03:52 PM | 1612 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sally F. White
Sally F. White
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With the 2014-15 academic year fast approaching, the nonprofit Agape Youth and Family Center in northwest Atlanta is seeking the public’s help in assembling backpack supplies for school-age children from households below the poverty level and qualifying for free lunch at school.

Agape provides supervised, safe havens for children in northwest Atlanta with mentors and after-school programming along with family services for kindergarteners through high school seniors.

Anyone can help by donating funds toward the $50 cost for individual backpack contents of basic school supplies and/or volunteering to help put them together. The goal is to raise $50,000 to fund 1,000 backpacks, and the deadline to donate has been extended to Friday.

The distribution giveaway day is scheduled for Aug. 1 at the center. Volunteers and donors are invited to serve in shifts July 30 and 31 so they are ready to be delivered the next day.

Agape (ah-gah-pey) is Greek for unconditional love, and was chosen as the name of the organization when it was founded in 1997 by the congregation of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Buckhead. The mission is to empower and support underserved families in northwest Atlanta by offering programs and services responsive to a variety of needs for students and adults.

Information: (404) 367-3947 or www.agapeatlanta.org

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Next: The Salon, an event set for July 31 and hosted by the National Black Arts Festival, will put a spotlight on rising, Atlanta-based African diaspora talents in the visual, literary, spoken word and musical arts.

The festival is inspired by the idea that art has the power to create change. Partners for this event are two other arts leaders, Atlanta’s Next and the regional network Alternate Roots.

Staged at the Hammonds House Museum on Peeples Street in Atlanta’s historic West End community, the evening will feature four talents on the cusp of stardom: visual performing artist and scholar Fahamu Pecou, jazz and soul vocalist Brenda Nicole Moorer, playwright and community agitator Michael Molina and Emmy Award-nominated spoken word artist Jon Goode.

The interactive program will encourage collaboration between artists and the audience to take aim at society’s most intractable challenges.

Established in 1988 with the purchase of the art collection and historic home of the late Dr. Otis T. Hammonds, a prominent Atlanta physician and a passionate arts patron, the nonprofit museum is dedicated to the mission of preserving the work and heritage of African-American artists through educational outreach programs and employing local and national artists, scholars, critics and cultural experts to provide public seminars, lectures and workshops.

Information: (404) 730-7315 or www.nbaf.org

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A consortium of big-hearted Atlantans is once again joining forces to solicit community aid and support for Georgia’s homeless U.S. military veterans.

The Georgia Cancer Specialists office at the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute in Sandy Springs is spearheading the third annual Stand Up for Stand Down toiletry drive now through Sept. 5 in partnership with metro Atlanta Pilot International Clubs.

The purpose of the drive is to collect a variety of much-needed toiletry and personal-care items to fill comfort bags in October for homeless veterans who are treated at the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Decatur.

“Stand down” is a military term referring to the time when troops are brought back from the battlefield for rest and recuperation. The local event provides health and other services to help homeless veterans get back on their feet. More than 650 metro Atlanta homeless veterans were served at last year’s event.

Twenty-seven Georgia Cancer offices across Georgia — including 19 in metro Atlanta — will participate in this year’s drive. Items needed include toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, hand sanitizers, combs and brushes, body wash, shampoo, antiseptic lotions and feminine products. Travel and full-size items are accepted.

Donated items along with clothing and food provide veterans with basic necessities that many take for granted.

“The dignity, concern and respect shown by the community tell military veterans they have not been forgotten,” said April Edwards, clinical director of the center’s homeless veterans program. “Donated items such as the hygiene packets provide veterans with basic necessities that many take for granted. The Atlanta VA Healthcare for Homeless Veterans salutes all of those who served.”

Collection drop-offs in the Northside areas are Georgia Cancer’s location on Johnson Ferry Road in Sandy Springs and at its administrative office on Savoy Drive near Chamblee Dunwoody Road in Atlanta.

Spearheading the collecting of donations are Peachtree Pilot Club volunteers, local members of the international nonprofit that serves as a global charitable and educational organization of executive, business and professional leaders who work to improve the quality of life in their communities.

Information: (770) 864-5347 or www.gacancer.com

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Free to Breathe, a Madison, Wis.-based national nonprofit dedicated to supporting help and research to eradicate lung cancer, is hosting run/walk events around the country.

The fifth annual Atlanta Free to Breathe Run/Walk is scheduled for Aug. 16 at John Howell Park at Greencove and Virginia avenues in Virginia-Highland.

All proceeds from the Atlanta event support Free to Breathe, a partnership of lung cancer survivors, adv ocates, researchers, healthcare professionals and industry leaders dedicated to lung cancer survival.

It will feature a 5-kilometer run/walk and a 1-mile walk for all fitness levels. Registration is at 7 a.m. with the run/walk starting at 8:30 a.m. and the walk beginning about five minutes later. Awards will be presented to the top run/walk finishers afterward.

Participants can register online by Aug. 11 or in person on race day. Anyone can raise funds and run or walk — that’s all it takes to be a hero in the eyes of a people facing lung cancer.

“By joining the Free to Breathe movement and fundraising, you help fund research that may unlock a new treatment that can save the life of someone in our Atlanta community,” said event coordinator Amy Waggoner, a Decatur resident.

This year the Atlanta race is inspired by St. Simons Island resident Samantha Mixon. The 33-year-old mother experienced severe headaches for months, and an emergency hospital visit revealed the non-smoker was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer.

Her efforts will help raise funds to support the mission of working to double lung cancer survival by 2022.

Registration and information: (770) 641-8200 or www.freetobreathe.org/atlanta
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