You've heard about the amazing work that organizations like the ACFB, the Woodruff, and Habitat for Humanity have done for Atlanta. But a few smaller nonprofits are making seriously incredible things happen in our city, all whilst flying a little under the radar. Take a gander at the list below of noble causes, and maybe consider lending your time to one or two of them as a volunteer—it's pretty sweet to support a worthy cause while getting to know your own community, y'know?
Wholesome Wave Georgia. Centered around a mission to provide greater access to healthy food within underserved communities, Wholesome Wave doubles the value of food stamps when used at local farmers markets (and the charity makes up the difference for those farmers).
How To Help: According to their site, A $50 donation to Wholesome Wave Georgia enables 3 Georgia families to afford fresh, local, and wholesome food for a week. You can make a contribution here, or contact them for volunteer opportunities.
Wellspring Living. One of our favorite boutiques in Virginia-Highland isn't just shilling fancy jeans. Wellspring Treasures is one of four upscale resale boutiques in the metro area (the others are in Kennesaw, Duluth, and Peachtree City) that sell new and gently used furniture, clothing, and housewares, and all of the proceeds go directly toward Wellspring's efforts to help guide girls and women who have survived childhood sexual abuse toward a more hopeful future. Snap up a set of china, an already-broken-in pair of designer jeans, or a pair of vintage boots, and you're helping Wellspring provide therapeutic services, an emergency safehouse, and a recovery home.
How to Help: Shop at any of the four stores—all proceeds go to the organization. You can also make an online donation, contribute items to the store or to the Wellspring Wish List, and volunteer as an academic mentor, life skills teacher, weekend activity leader, work in a store, and more.
The Wren's Nest Publishing Company/KIPP Scribes. The house museum of Joel Chandler Harris works with Atlanta-area students to help them develop writing skills, pairing professional writers with 5th, 6th, and 7th graders at the KIPP Strive Academy to publish a collection of short stories, and working with Atlanta-area high school students to produce a literary journal. Full disclosure: I, your loyal Scoutmob editor, participated in the Wren's Nest KIPP Scribes program in 2011 for the production of the much-lauded short story collection, The Whole Fiasco, and it was awesome. (See how much fun we're having?)
How to Help: Volunteer with the Publishing Company and/or the KIPP Scribes, or make a donation to the Wren's Nest.
Free Fab'rik. Dana Spinola likes to joke that when her closet actually broke from having so many clothes, she (and her friend Kim Bartlett, a local TV anchor) decided it was time to help others. Free Fab'rik is the charity offshoot of Atlanta's favorite boutique, and aims to give teens in need a chance to experience boutique shopping without the price tags. By collecting donated clothing from the community, Free Fab'rik hosts several shopping sprees a year where teens not only can enjoy fashion and personal styling, but also gain confidence and mentorship.
How to Help: Volunteer as a clothing sorter or a personal stylist at the next Free Fab'rik event, or make a clothing or monetary donation. Learn more here.
Global Growers Network. With half the population from outside the United States, over sixty languages spoken, and a huge refugee community, Clarkston is arguably the most diverse neighborhood in the metro area. After aid agencies chose Clarkston as a resettlement area, refugees who had fled political upheaval and genocide in their home countries landed in the area as vulnerable newcomers. Global Growers Network has made it their mission to help refugees settle in with an incubator farm to train them as independent farmers, a women's community farm, and a CSA and farmers market presence to help their farmers sell the produce they've reaped. (You can catch them at the Grant Park, Clarkston, and Decatur farmers markets.)
How to Help: Volunteer to help out on work days, assist the team at farmers markets, or help with special events. You can also donate online.
Beremedy. Facebook and Twitter: not just for cat pics and political rants. Blake Canterbury and his team have harnessed the power of social media to make a direct connection between individuals in need, and the people who can help them. Two weeks ago, a formerly homeless man named Gino was preparing to start a new life and move in to an apartment. He needed a table to eat his meals and chairs. Beremedy posted the need, and within hours, a donation from someone in the community had been coordinated. Pretty amazing stuff, right?
How to Help: The best thing you can do? Follow Beremedy on Facebook and Twitter, and keep an eye on what's in need. It's seriously that easy.
This list represents approximately .003% of the awesomeness being created by Atlanta's charitable organizations. Got some more suggestions? Let us know.