Regardless of whatever may be going on in the world, communities and individuals will always come together for a worthy cause. The 10th annual Essentials for Young Lives Drive hosted by HomeAid Atlanta brought in more than 72,000 diapers, baby wipes and other “essential” baby items, nearly doubling the 2010 count. The drive was held April 25 through May 2 in an effort to provide aid to one of the fastest growing segments of the homeless population – women with children.  HomeAid distributed everything collected through the drive to local nonprofit organizations serving homeless families.

An alarming yet sobering fact is that 42 percent of homeless children in Georgia are under the age of 6. This means the donated items were quite a blessing, providing critical support to the recipient organizations and the families they serve.  “Donations from the Essentials for Young Lives Drive are such a blessing to our clients,” said Monifa Watson, program director for HomeStretch, one of the recipient organizations.  “Being able to save money on such ‘essentials’ allows our clients to dedicate more of their income to debt repayment, rebuilding credit and creating a nest egg for their future.  We are all so very grateful for the items and those who provided them.”

On May 6, just a few days before Mother’s Day, Atlanta-based UPS teamed up with HomeAid Atlanta to delivering thousands of items to seven local nonprofit organizations that provide housing and supportive services to homeless families and young children.  These organizations operate facilities that have been built in partnership with HomeAid Atlanta and include Decatur Cooperative Ministry (Decatur), Genesis – A New Life (Atlanta), HomeStretch (Roswell), My House (Cherokee County), Phoenix Pass (Conyers), Tapestry Youth Ministries (College Park and Fairburn) and The Drake House (Roswell).

These tremendous donations would not have been possible without the overwhelming support of businesses, community organizations and individuals throughout the metro Atlanta area. It is truly heart-warming to see so many groups join hands with HomeAid to collect essential baby items.

Among those that collected items for the 2011 Essentials for Young Lives Drive were The Atlanta Academy, Atlanta Remodelers Council, Atlanta Sales & Marketing Council, Bank of America, Boral Bricks, Bucknell University Alumni Club of Atlanta, CB Richard Ellis, CharterBank, Coldwell Banker NRT Development Advisors, Cooper Homes, Dunwoody Baptist Church, Evolv, Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association, IIDA Student Chapter of the Art Institute of Atlanta, John Willis Homes, Lincoln Property Management Company, LoanSouth Mortgage, Mast Custom Woodworks, MetLife Home Loans, Northwest Exterminating, Oneida Builders, Purdy Real Estate, State Bank & Trust Company, SunTrust, Technology Dependent Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta-Scottish Rite Campus, Upper Cervical Health Centers of America, Valley Brook Baptist Church and Weissman, Nowack, Curry & Wilco.

The Essentials for Young Lives Drive was first launched in Atlanta in 2002 and since then more than 300,000 essential baby items have been distributed to homeless mothers and their babies.

For more information about HomeAid Atlanta, visit

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