Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Helping the Homeless - Donations of Sales Through April 2011

33 Designs Hand Crafted Keepsakes
I want to do something to give back to our community and those in need. During the month of April, I am going to donate 25% of all 33 Design sales to S.O.W. in Rome, GA. Please follow the link below and read the article! It's for a GREAT cause!!! =0)
News Article About S.O.W. - Service to Others Worldwide  (follow this link or read the article at the bottom of this blog)

As a plus, a 100% donation will go to S.O.W for the sale of my green crocheted afghan listed on Etsy!!  Follow this link to purchase the afghan (if you purchase through Etsy, the cost of shipping will not be included in the donation to S.O.W.):     Green Afghan Link
Read article about S.O.W. below if you choose not to follow the link above.
It was only two years ago that Mike Jones was running on the levee and spotted a group of people sitting under the pavilion at Heritage Park on a hot summer afternoon.
He went over and started speaking with them and learned they were homeless. Jones offered to bring the small group some cold water and snacks since he lives downtown.

Then, what started as a simple gesture of kindness became a massive effort as Jones soon realized that the number of homeless people in Rome was more than he could ever have imagined.

So he, along with Brad Dillard and Matt Campbell, founded SOW Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides a number of services to Rome’s homeless community. SOW stands for Service to Others Worldwide.

“The people we have befriended and have gotten to know, prefer the term ‘street people’,” Jones said. “They believe there’s more of a stigma attached to the word ‘homeless.’ And we respect them and are trying to help them out.”

Jones has always respected the people he meets through SOW. Even before the organization was incorporated as a non-profit, he saw a need and tried to fill it.

“After taking that small group of people some water and snacks, I wanted to keep doing it,” he said. “But everyday there were more and more. So I asked them to tell me what I was really working with here and they told me ‘hundreds’.

Jones would take food, snacks, water, bread and pizza to all the people who needed it. Generous donations from Great Harvest Bread Co. and Domino’s Pizza went a long way to feed dozens of people.

One of the first people Jones befriended was a man named Willie Mack. He acted as a liason between Jones and the people he was trying to help, taking Jones into the tent cities and all the places Rome’s homeless go for shelter.

“There are a lot of places like that,” Jones said. “And they’re closer than you think. They’re all around us. It’s like a third world country right here in our community.”

Jones, Dillard and Campbell found out from their new friends that one of the greatest needs in the homeless community was a Sunday meal.

The community kitchen and several area churches provide free meals on weekdays and Saturdays but not on Sundays. So the men decided one of their goals would be sack lunches on Sunday.

“That was an immediate need. So we started doing that and it just never stopped. We still do the Sunday sack lunches.”

Now, as a nonprofit organization, SOW Inc. can do so much more. But it needs the community’s help.

“Mike would never tell you this,” Dillard said. “But up till now a lot of the money for food and and other things has come out of his pocket. We are heavily dependent on donations for food, services, materials and toiletries.”

SOW Inc. has a main office just past the Fifth Avenue bridge. It’s the headquarters for the SOW operation but has become so much more.

Jones, Dillard and Campell, as well as volunteers, help many homeless individuals seven days a week with any number of issues. The center has become a haven for people to drop in, relax, get out of the cold or the heat and just enjoy the companionship of others in a safe, welcoming atmosphere.

“We help people get a state ID, bus passes, their prescriptions filled, resumes, we drive them to interviews and anything else they might need,” Jones said. “But a lot of the time people come here because there’s no judgment here. They can come and sit and just talk to someone. That’s what many of them want — just someone to listen to them.”

Between 70 and 90 people come into the center each day.

SOW has helped 40 individuals track down and get a copy of their birth certificates — not an easy task for some.

One thing Jones emphasized is that the Rome community needs to realize that the stereotype of the lazy, alcoholic homeless person content with his or her situation is simply inaccurate.

“In our experience that’s a minority,” he said. “Many of the people we deal with, come from middle class families. They just fell on hard times and didn’t have a support system behind them. Sometimes when we’re in trouble financially, we have parents or relatives or church or good friends to help us out. These people don’t have that. So we have to be their support system.”

Jones said most of the people he encounters are hardworking and would love the opportunity to earn a paycheck.

Among the people who walk in SOW’s doors are once-professionals, heads of companies and holders of advanced degrees who have lost their jobs and could not find employment. So they lost everything they had.

Others had limited formal education, but with SOW’s help are working to remedy that.

“At the moment we’re helping people take online GED courses and one is even attending Georgia Northwestern Technical College,” Jones said. “We help people build resumes and will drive them to job interviews if necessary.”

One of the biggest successes SOW has had is that it has helped 21 people — including Willie Mack — get off the street by securing a residence with the Rome Housing Authority.

So Jones is the first to admit that SOW does not have a specific set of goals. It exists to address any need it can within Rome’s homeless community. But funding has been an issue. The organization needs help.

“A financial donation isn’t the only way people can help,” Dillard said. “We need volunteer drivers, food donations, snack food, toiletry items, sleeping bags and tents.”

But the men are quick to say that anyone willing to volunteer will be welcome.

“Community involvement is key,” Jones said. “That’s the beautiful thing about this. The church groups, organizations and individuals who have already helped us have really enjoyed it. It’s addictive. This project is bringing people together.”

For additional information on how you can volunteer or donate to SOW Inc., visit online at, search “sow online” on Facebook or call 706-676-2821.



33 Designs said...

Check out SOW online at:

Or on FaceBook at:

33 Designs said...

Don't forget... 25% of all 33 Designs items sold in the month of April will be donated to S.O.W. in Rome, Georgia to help the homeless families in this area... Not just men & women, but whole families. S.O.W. helps them to get back on their feet again - as a family!!! There's still time to place an order! Your purchase could help a family in need!