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Your monthly newsletter about The Place and how serving with purpose helps change lives. 

January 2022

Dear Joni,

It’s been a difficult couple of years, and now we are in 2022. 

Despite the difficulties we have all faced, there have been many causes for celebration and reasons to give thanks in the new year. As I look back at 2021, I am filled with gratitude for the myriad ways you joined with The Place to make our tomorrow possible so that we could help the most vulnerable around us. With your volunteerism, financial contributions, and well wishes, we were able to make significant improvements to help us provide immediate and long-term tools and support to our clients.

Last year you helped The Place:

  • Merge with RIC-Rack Thrift Store and Food Bank in Dawsonville, GA to create The Place of Dawson County at RIC-Rack. The consolidation of resources allows for economies of scale and makes programs and services available to Dawson County residents.
  • Open The Place Cottage, which provides a safe place to stay for young ladies who are facing homelessness so they can rest, heal, and work towards self-sufficiency. 
  • Expand its food warehouse to provide for the growing number of families living with food insecurity. Over 1,000 families, made up over 3,200 individuals, benefitted from our food pantry in 2021. 
  • Implement a new software system that allows our food pantry families to shop online with points for food. No longer does each family receive a pre-made bag of food. Instead, they receive food that they will enjoy. That their kids will enjoy. 
  • Added an adult workforce training program that allows individuals to work full-time at The Place for six months. They receive job coaching, mentoring, counseling, and more to help them become self-sustaining. 
  • Provide holiday gifts for over 2,000 children through the 7th Annual The Place Holiday House. 

Yes, the year was difficult as we continued to navigate the pandemic. What we learned is that great and amazing things can happen when we come together united in purpose. When you come together with The Place with your time, treasures, and talents, you make the tomorrows of our clients possible. We are very proud of what we--together with you--accomplished in 2021, but we know there is more work to be done. 

We are not in the clear from the pandemic and many in our county continue to struggle financially, emotionally, and physically. As we step into 2022, I am confident that, with your continued support and partnership, our tomorrow is possible. Their tomorrow is possible.  

Serving with Purpose,

Joni Smith

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President & CEO

The Place of Forsyth County

News and Events


Cristy Ferencie to Serve on Board of Health

In January, The Place’s Director of Client Assistance Cristy Ferencie will begin a six year term on Forsyth County’s Board of Health. She will represent the underprivileged and senior populations in Forsyth County. Cristy is looking forward to participating in meetings and being an advocate for the people served by The Place. 

“I’m excited to learn more about health resources for this population from the board as well as educate them on the needs and pressing issues of the groups that I work with every day,” said Cristy. 

Cristy has worked for The Place for three years. She served as a volunteer before coming on staff in 2018. She holds a Bachelor in Management degree from Georgia Tech and an MBA from Emory University. Cristy lives in Cumming with her husband and three college-age children. 

“Way to go, Cristy!” said The Place’s President and CEO Joni Smith. “We are proud of you and look forward to having you as an advocate for the populations we serve.”


Please Join Us for an Open House

Please join us for an Open House at the administrative offices for The Place of Dawson County on January 20, 2022. The offices are near the RIC-Rack Thrift Store and Food Pantry. The Place shares the building with social workers and the McKinney-Vento representative for the Dawson County School District, making the location a “win” for the community.

  • A representative of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce will attend the ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:30 am on January 20. 
  • Anyone can drop-in and take a tour of the facility from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm
  • Location: 829 Hwy 9 Dawsonville, GA 30534

No need to RSVP, just come join us! Please wear a mask.


Senior Outreach Needs Tools

Do you have any power tools in good condition that are cluttering up your workshop? Consider donating your no-longer-needed power tools to The Place’s Senior Outreach Program. In particular, we need a:

  • Portable miter box saw 
  • Nail gun (air framer)
  • 2000+ psi pressure washer
  • Other carpentry tools, including battery power drills/drill bits and folding saw horses

To ensure we get the right number of needed tools, please make an appointment with Glenn Bowman before you donate. Contact him at glenn@theplaceofforsyth.org.

Thank you!

Training Updates


Register for Forsyth Parenting Classes

The Place is sponsoring “Love and Logic” Parenting Classes in Forsyth and Dawson counties. The Dawson classes are scheduled for February 3, 10, and 24. The Forsyth classes are scheduled for March 7, 14, and 21.

The classes teach parents or caregivers how to “learn a loving and balanced approach to managing your kids. We demonstrate how to practice discipline without losing love and respect for your child.”

All classes are free, and include childcare and a pizza supper. 

  • Times: 6 to 8 pm
  • Locations: 
  • Dawson County: Local Church, 31 Successful Way, Dawsonville, GA
  • Forsyth County: East Forsyth High School, 9030 Jot Em Down Road, Gainesville, GA

To register, contact Tara Hardwick at tara@theplaceofforsyth.org or call 770-887-1098, ext. 224.

Pantry Needs


Click here to shop our Amazon food list.

Click here to open a printable food list and shop locally. Bring locally purchased items to

The Place, 2550 The Place Circle, Cumming, GA 30040.




The Place was voted the best place to volunteer in Forsyth County in 2020! If you’d like to join our amazing team, please fill out an application and attend a one-hour orientation session at The Place.

To fill out a volunteer application, please click here

The next orientation sessions are on:

  • January 13 at 6:00 pm
  • January 14 at 11:00 am
  • January 14 at 3:00 pm
  • January 15 at 10:00 am
  • January 21 at 11:00 am

To register, please click here.

Give a Gift Today

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Your continued support is needed and appreciated so we can continue to help our neighbors in need.

Please consider a gift a today.

Leave a Legacy: Please Include The Place of Forsyth in your Estate Planning

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