In the city of Smyrna, Georgia, there's a beautiful story unfolding - one of community, compassion, and unwavering support. It's called "Support Smyrna," and it's a shining example of how a simple idea can transform into a beacon of hope for a city.
Support Smyrna was born out of necessity during the dark days of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the world grappled with uncertainty, Smyrna residents faced their own challenges. People were scared, jobs were lost, and many couldn't leave their homes, especially those who were immunocompromised. In the midst of this chaos, a visionary Smyrna resident proposed an idea: "Wouldn't it be nice if we could create a program where citizens could help neighbors in need?"
That idea, born in the early days of the pandemic, led to the creation of Support Smyrna. Its mission was clear: to provide essential support to those struggling in the community, particularly in the form of food assistance. The concept was simple yet powerful: donate $25, and you would receive a Support Smyrna yard sign to proudly display in your yard. The funds collected would be used to provide grocery store gift cards to those in need.
When Support Smyrna first set out with this initiative, they ordered 50 signs, hoping to raise a few thousand dollars. What happened next was nothing short of remarkable. The Smyrna community rallied behind the cause with extraordinary generosity, ordering over 1,500 yard signs and raising a staggering $170,000, transforming Smyrna into a sea of support.
With the pandemic's eventual decline, the founders of Support Smyrna, Mayor Derek Norton and his wife Laura, recognized that this incredible outpouring of support shouldn't wane. They took a significant step forward by establishing Support Smyrna as a 501c3 non-profit organization. This pivotal move allowed them to expand their mission beyond food assistance to include clothing, housing, and medicine.
The organization has quickly become a vital part of the community's fabric, connecting with various segments of Smyrna through school social workers, the American Legion for Veterans, senior centers, and the faith community. Through these connections, Support Smyrna has been able to provide critical assistance where it's needed most.
Stories of their impact abound, from providing heat and shelter to a family in dire need to offering crucial medicines to veterans and seniors. They've even gone as far as securing noise-canceling headphones for an autistic child at Argyle Elementary School, ensuring a better learning experience.
Support Smyrna has grown, evolved, and continues to thrive, touching lives in countless ways. Mayor Norton, who once knocked on 3,000 doors while campaigning, acknowledges that the organization has really opened his eyes to the needs within Smyrna itself. The organization's reach extends to over 2,000 homeless children attending Cobb County Schools, with 1,000 of them coming from hotels or motels. Support Smyrna is there, offering help to those who need it most, right in their own backyard.
This incredible organization operates on the goodwill of Smyrna residents and local businesses, relying on small-dollar donations that collectively make a significant impact. Every dollar contributed plays a vital role in providing assistance and resources to the community.
As we look forward to the Mayor's Second Annual Fall Classic to Support Smyrna on November 3, 2023, it's a reminder that when a community comes together, incredible things happen. Golf, good times, and gift bags will all be part of the event, but the real treasure lies in the hearts of the people who make Support Smyrna what it is.
Support Smyrna is a testament to the kindness and compassion that define Smyrna, Georgia. It's proof that even in the darkest of times, the light of community can shine through. So, if you're ever driving through Smyrna and see those yard signs proudly displayed, know that behind each one is a story of support, love, and a community that cares. Support Smyrna is more than a nonprofit; it's a testament to the strength of the human spirit and a reminder that, together, we can make the world a better place, one act of kindness at a time.