The North Gwinnett Cooperative has launched its annual Holiday Meal Box and Sponsorship programs, and North Georgia Accounting Solutions is among the local businesses partnering with the Co-Op to ensure Gwinnett County’s families enjoy a better Christmas.

AngelTree2015-4To help families that might not otherwise receive many gifts at Christmastime, Tonya Maiseroulle and Marcia Hall of North Georgia Accounting Solutions are putting an Angel Tree in the lobby of their office and inviting clients and others from the community to help them support the North Gwinnett Co-Op’s efforts.

Kim Phillips, the director of the North Gwinnett Co-Op, said this year the Co-Op plans to provide gifts for 275 children and 64 seniors. The gifts are intended to not only give children something to unwrap on Christmas morning, but to also help meet the child’s needs, Kim said.

AngelTree2015-3“With the Angel Trees, we ask each family about the necessities – things like clothes for school – and we want to make sure that those needs are met. We also ask that the child be given a toy priced around $30, and we supplement that with a toy drive we do,” Kim explained. “Through this, each child gets about 10 different things.”

Each sponsored child should receive a winter coat, pajamas, an outfit for school or church, a pair of shoes and a toy. Sponsored seniors also should receive a winter coat, pajamas or a robe, clothing or a household need, a pair of shoes and a personal care item.

Kim said the Angel Trees, like the one at North Georgia Accounting Solutions, are an ideal way for local businesses to get involved during the holidays. An Angel Tree allows a business to spread out the costs associated with a sponsorship, but it also helps to raise awareness of the Co-Op among that business’s client base.

For Tonya and Marcia, the ability to give back by helping provide gifts for a family in need is important, but because they support the North Gwinnett Co-Op’s mission they also hope to introduce others in the community to the work the Co-Op does.

“We got introduced to the North Gwinnett Co-Op about six years ago through my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop,” Marcia said. “The troop had helped with collecting items for a back to school backpack drive. After we started our company, I knew it was something we wanted to be involved with.”

Kim explained that the North Gwinnett Co-Op is much more than its Christmas sponsorships.

The Christian-based ministry provides year-round support for families with everything from meals to utility assistance to help buying medications.

AngelTree2015-1“We helped 13,000 families (in 2014) and provided $138,000 in assistance,” Kim said. “We receive no government support. All our money comes from churches, businesses, families, foundations and grants. Last year we had 13,000 volunteer hours.”

Kim said the Co-Op is intended to help people struggling through difficult times. Some clients may only need help for a short period of time – a few meals to get through a rough time or help with utilities because they’ve had a major car repair that they had to make.

“Most of my clients are paycheck-to-paycheck people. They don’t have an emergency fund. What we try to do is bridge those critical gaps for families,” Kim said.

The North Gwinnett Co-Op also provides GED tutoring and tutoring to its clients’ children if families need those services.

“A small percentage are regular clients – people on disability or seniors,” Kim said.

While all sorts of donations are appreciated and used, Kim said the biggest need the Co-Op has is for money which can be used to address specific needs.

“Food donations are always a need, too,” Kim said. “First quarter (January through March) are our low months. And again August through October our shelves get extremely empty. We try to keep a list of needs on our website, but anyone who is interested can email or come by any time. Our contact information is on our website.”

For Tonya and Marcia at North Georgia Accounting Solutions, the Angel Tree is the perfect way to enlist their clients to help give back to the community and raise awareness for the North Gwinnett Co-Op.

AngelTree2015-2“We hope our clients and friends will join us in trying to help North Gwinnett Co-Op in providing gifts for people who are struggling this Christmas,” Tonya said. “And we also hope that we can make people aware of the work North Gwinnett Co-Op does in our community so that they might feel compelled to help not just at Christmas but throughout the year.”

The North Gwinnett Co-Op, which helps families in the Buford, Sugar Hill and Suwanee areas, is located at 4395 Commerce Drive in Buford. The Co-Op’s website is northgwinnettcoop.org.

North Georgia Accounting Solutions is an accounting firm focused on customer service. Tonya and Marcia are both enrolled agents and certified QuickBooks Pro Advisors. They specialize in helping individuals and businesses with tax preparation and tax planning. North Georgia Accounting Solutions also offers CFO for Hire services that take businesses beyond compliance and provide solutions for cash flow issues, mergers and acquisitions, troubled waters or even rapid growth.

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