The Drake House: September 2020 Pledge
Earlier this month, Peach Coffee Roasters announced its commitment to partnering with local organizations to have more community impact. Each month, those organizations will change along with the issue they are tackling. For September, we are doing our part in assisting The Drake House (TDH) to end homelessness amongst women and children in North Atlanta. Part of that assistance is simply telling you about the amazing work TDH does and how we all have a positive impact on our community. I had the opportunity to ask about TDH’s successes, the daily obstacles they face, and the changes made to contend with COVID-19. Here’s what I have to share!
A Need to Be Met
In 2004, the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program identified a growing issue in their community: homelessness. Specifically, they saw homelessness amongst single mothers with children. The closest shelters were located in downtown Atlanta. There were clearly not enough local recourses dedicated to the issue. Even with the shelter options downtown, many policies had male children separated from their mothers upon the age of 12. So, in 2005, leaders from businesses, faith-based, civic, and government organizations came together to create The Drake House.
The Drake House opened its doors in 2006. Since then, they have provided 161,958 bed nights to homeless families. Just recently, they surpassed housing their 500th female-lead family. That milestone includes the support of over 900 children. These accomplishments are undoubtably remarkable, but the work cannot stop there. In 2018, all of Fulton County Schools reported that 40% of the homeless student body in the county attended North Fulton County Schools. Just within a 5-mile radius of Peach, there are nine elementary, four middle, and five high schools all part of the public county system. North Fulton County School are all within the city limits of Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Roswell, Alpharetta, Milton, and Johns Creek. These are some of the most prominent areas in all of Georgia. There is reason to believe that our community has more than enough resources to conquer this growing problem and further provide opportunities for these women and their children.
What They Do
In conjunction with the Empowerment Plan, women and children receive and take part in several other services provided by TDH. Many of these services administer education, tutoring, workshops, parenting skills, meal planning and social-emotional learning skills. The Career Services program is particularly important as it prepares these women for interviews, job leads, and career paths. What are the outcomes for these efforts? Just last year, 93% of the families transitioned to stable housing, suggesting that these mothers found jobs with sustainable incomes.
Roughly 70% of mothers are employed when arriving to The Drake House. When exiting the program, that number is 90%. Closing that margin is no easy task, and it does not stop there. Simply finding jobs for the jobless will not solve the self-sufficiency issue. These mothers need wage increases, which includes the 70% of mothers that already had jobs when arriving. The Drake House has helped these women see a 63% increase in monthly income. At Peach, we often discuss the goal to push for livable wages. For reference, one single adult with zero dependents living in Fulton County needs to earn a $13.66 hourly wage to be self-sufficient**. That is nearly double the minimum wage in Georgia. You can begin to see why working two minimum wage jobs for 60 plus hours a week just does not cut it. And that is for just one person. That $13.66 immediately jumps to $25.61 when you add one child into the picture.
Like most nonprofits, The Drake House relies on donations and volunteer hours. Those donations can be generated in great sums by hosting events and benefits. With COVID-19, events and volunteer opportunities have been heavily impacted. The Drake House runs two major events/benefits each year, Miss Mary’s Ice Cream Crankin’ and Rockin’ The Runway. Both events recently took place despite the challenges faced in this pandemic.
Miss Mary’s Ice Cream Crankin’ relocated to First Baptist Roswell. With some operational changes, The Drake House successfully and safely held this event. Normally a huge social gathering of around 3,200 people, TDH implemented a drive-thru system to hold their benefit. For two hours, the ice cream was crankin’. They officially listed 20 sponsors composed of businesses and organizations, and overall, the day was a huge success. Rockin’ The Runway also presented its challenges, but TDH was innovative enough to throw the benefit virtually. This event is filled with fun and fashion, and that did not change despite the pandemic obstacle.
How You Can Get Involved
Organizations like The Drake House need resources. That can be physical item donations, monetary donations, volunteer hours and more. TDH has a number of ways for people to make an impact. For donations, you can make a commitment online as an individual or as a business. TDH even has an Amazon wishlist for items in need and an ongoing list for immediate needs.
The Drake Closet, located in Roswell, Sandy Springs, and Alpharetta. These stores carry lightly used women’s clothing. You can volunteer to work at these stores or donate clothes as well. These stores are open to the public for shopping; However, they do provide needed attire for the women at TDH. This mostly applies to job interviews.
Own or manage a business? You can partner with The Drake House to be a potential employer. You simply fill out an interest form to begin that process. Perhaps the business you own or manage is a great venue. Host a fundraiser for TDH. As previously mentioned, businesses can also directly donate or sponsor future benefits.
The Drake House provides numerous ways to get involved and has a tremendous impact on these mothers and children. The work speaks for itself, and they have a terrific track record. Maybe donating is difficult in today’s economy. Maybe volunteering is not realistic either for health reasons. All that is understandable. However, if you are going to drink coffee every single day, you might as well drink something that is having an impact on people’s lives. At Peach Coffee Roasters, this is our priority. Help us make our community better.
Show your support for The Drake House by grabbing a Peachapalooza T-shirt! Peach Coffee Roasters is donating 3% of all purchases to TDH through September.