Real Life Center receives donation from Staples Foundation

Real Life Center’s executive director, Cathy Berggren, welcomes shoppers to the new thrift store in Fayetteville. The center also operates a shop at 992 Senoia Rd. in Tyrone. Photo/Maggie Zerkus.

Fayette’s Real Life Center has been awarded $3,500 by Staples Foundation, the private charitable arm of Staples, Inc., under a new program that lets Staples associates direct donations.

According to Cathy Berggren, executive director, “This grant will be a great help — especially this time of year. Hard times are difficult no matter what, but somehow the weight is felt so much more during the celebration of Christmas. The money will be used to help families that have experienced job loss and assisting them as they back on their feet”.

The grants are part of a new philanthropic initiative created by Staples Foundation, which allows Staples associates around the world to direct funding to non-profit organizations that are focused on education or job skills. The program encourages local community engagement by awarding larger grants to organizations where associates are highly engaged in volunteering or fundraising — up to $25,000 per organization.

In 2012, U.S. associates directed more than $1.4 million of Staples Foundation grants to 434 local non-profit organizations. The new program, called 2 Million & Change, will award additional funds to organizations around the world, reaching more than $2 million in grants for the year.

“Staples Foundation is committed to making a positive impact in the communities where our associates live and work,” said Katy Dobbs, director of global community relations for Staples, Inc. “Through our new program, we are pleased to support our associates and the local non-profit organizations that matter to them most.”

The Real Life Center works to provide necessary resources such as food and financial assistance, as well as providing families with additional resources such financial counseling, resume help and network and referrals. It works to offer a “hand up” rather than a “hand out” as families navigate through the difficult times such as job loss. The center sees an average of 450 families per month through its center, as well as an additional 200 plus through its mobile food pantry. Through the food pantry over 300,000 lbs of food have been distributed already this year.

The center recently opened a second thrift store in addition to the one in Tyrone. The new store is at 400 Glynn St. in Fayetteville, across from the Dairy Queen.

For more information, call the Real Life Store in Fayetteville, 770-719-0880. or the Real Life Center on Senoia Road in Tyrone, 770-631-9334.