Sandy Springs nonprofits offer help for those in need

Volunteerism has been a big part of Sandy Springs culture since long before it became a city. And in a place with significant income inequality and many people in need, lending a hand means a lot.

The following are some of the most prominent human services nonprofits in Sandy Springs and you can help out or get help. And we’ve mentioned a couple of other popular volunteer opportunities in other fields of service.

Community Assistance Center

Inside the market-style food pantry at the Community Assistance Center’s North End location. Credit: Community Assistance Center

The Community Assistance Center is the city’s biggest nonprofit aimed at preventing hunger and homeless.

Since 1987, CAC has served people in Sandy Springs and the neighboring Dunwoody area with food, clothing, and rent and utility payment help. It also offers youth programs, adult education classes, tax filing assistance, and school supplies for teachers.

CAC’s most prominent facility is at 8607 Roswell Road in the North End, which combines a store-style food pantry with the Upscale Thrift shop, a major source of the organization’s funds. CAC also operates a satellite office with a food pantry in Dunwoody and is in the process of rebuilding a similar facility on Northwood Drive in Sandy Springs’ southern section.

Inside the CAC’s Upscale Thrift store on Roswell Road. Credit: CAC

CAC is also in the midst of an $800,000 capital campaign for headquarters improvements and that satellite office. On the fundraising side, CAC holds an annual gala called the “Vintage Affair,” usually in October.

For more information, see

Sandy Springs Education Force

Students in a drone-flying club aided by the Sandy Springs Education Force. Credit: SSEF

The Sandy Springs Education Force assists economically disadvantaged students in local Fulton County public schools. The assistance is much-needed, as many students from Sandy Springs’ wealthier families attend private schools. As the SSEF website says, “The city of Sandy Springs has been named one of the wealthiest cities in the U.S., yet almost 50% of our public school children are economically disadvantaged.”

SSEF was founded in 1993 under a different name and structure, and had many twists and turns before going dormant in 2004. It revived in 2004 with a funding commitment from the local Couchman-Noble Foundation and has become a local institution.

SSEF provides a variety of supplemental programs in the areas of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics), literacy, after-school, mentoring and tutoring. The programs are aimed at economically disadvantaged students, but open to all, though sometimes for a small fee.

An annual “STEAM Showcase” of student work, usually held in March, is a well-known SSEF program. The “Footprints for the Future” road race, usually held in October or November, is a major fundraiser.

For more information, see

Solidarity Sandy Springs

The front door of the Solidarity Sandy Springs food pantry in the Parkside Shopping Center. Credit: Solidarity Sandy Springs

Solidarity Sandy Springs is the newest addition to the city’s nonprofit scene. It formed in March 2020 as an emergency food pantry for people whose lives were turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic and health chaos. Now it continues that service as well as expanding into other forms of aid.

Solidarity was created by Sandy Springs residents in collaboration with Brookhaven’s Barnes Young Team real estate brokers. It began in a then-shuttered restaurant in a local shopping center. Today, the food pantry operates in the Parkside Shopping Center at 5920 Roswell Road.

This year, Solidarity is operating a “Secret Santa” program to provide gifts to families in need.

For more information, see

Sandy Springs Mission

Students in a new Sandy Springs Mission program at High Point Elementary School. Credit: Sandy Springs Mission

The Sandy Springs Mission provides year-round help to educationally at-risk Latino students in programs with a Christian focus.

Founded in 1999, the Mission was originally focused on serving families before focusing on lowering the drop-out rate for Latino students. It currently serves more than 320 students and their families with a variety of school programs, a summer camp program, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) support and food assistance.

For more information, see

Sandy Springs Society

The Sandy Springs Society’s “Elegant Elf” fundraiser in 2018. Credit: Sandy Springs Society

The Sandy Springs Society is a nonprofit that funds other nonprofits — often including all the ones we’ve mentioned here.

Founded in 1988, the Society is an invitation-only women’s group focused on community service. Over the decades, it has awarded about $5.5 million in grants to nonprofits ranging from arts groups to environmental advocates. In its latest fiscal year, it gave $151,187 to 31 nonprofits through a competitive grant process.

The Society gives an annual “Spirit of Sandy Springs” award, which includes a $1,000 donation to a nonprofit of the honoree’s choice. The 2021 winner was Nicole Nigel Gray, a teacher at Lake Forest Elementary School who started a program to assist students and families in need from the pandemic.

The Society was also behind a 2004 program that erected individually decorated statues of turtles — meant as a kind of city mascot — around town as a public art effort. Many of the turtles remain in locations around town.

The Society holds two major fundraisers each year. “Tossed Out Treasures” is a sale of “gently used upscale items” that includes a private sale and silent auction. It is usually held in February or March, but was canceled for 2021 due to the pandemic. The other fundraiser is the “Elegant Elf” holiday market, usually held in November.

For more information, see

Volunteer for a Better Sandy Springs Day

A scene from the 2020 edition of Volunteer for a Better Sandy Springs Day. Credit: Leadership Sandy Springs

Volunteer for a Better Sandy Springs Day, usually held in April, is a popular way to help out local organizations and efforts, from parks to some of those on this list.

In past years, the program has drawn hundreds of volunteers. During the pandemic, it has been scaled back and focused on outdoor activities, like cleaning and plantings in parks and playgrounds.

The volunteer day is arranged by Leadership Sandy Springs, a tuition-based leadership development program that serves as an entrance into city politics and business organizations.

For more information, see the Leadership website.