top of page

August 31, 2023 | Faith, Community and Non-Profit Leader Check-In Meeting

Our every other week check-in meeting is open to anyone interested in supporting compassionate community response to our most vulnerable neighbors. Meetings are held online every other Thursday from 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Email LeDayne Polaski for Zoom access code. In addition, if you would like to receive notification when these minutes are posted, please email LeDayne and ask to be added to the Thursday meetings email list.

Want to learn more about we do on our calls? Watch this short video clip!


Click HERE to Access Zoom Recording:


In this Issue:


Opening Reflection

I invite you (and myself) into a practice called WONDER. In the Sikh faith, wonder is a sacred practice. It's called vismaad. Those seemingly ordinary moments of wonder in your life when you are arrested by the sunset or a swell of music or your child's face, and the line between you and everything blurs are not throw-away moments. They are actually portals into the sacred nature of things. They are tastes of the truth of our Oneness, that we are part of everything, everywhere, all at once. :) When the moment passes, we can choose to remember the truth of our interconnectedness and move through the world from a place of love. How do we practice wonder? When I look at my calendar right now back-to-school for the kids, book deadline, organizing meetings, speaking circuit I can literally feel the breath leave my body. My jaw grips in stress. A knot of dread lodges under my rib cage. I'm not present anymore. Does my body need to harden in order to do hard things? No. There is a rainforest inside me — a place of safety, belonging, and beauty that the world cannot touch. How do I live there? This is where the wonder practice comes in. I look around and find the most beautiful thing I can see. A single leaf, trembling in the breeze. I say: You are a part of me I do not yet know. I do this a few times until I can feel the felt-sense of wonder in my body. I breathe into it. If I can live my life in this place in my body, it's easier to wonder about the people in my life: my children and husband and teammates, and also the people I'm having a conflict with (sometimes it's them)! To look at their face and say: You are a part of me I do not yet know. It primes me to listen to them from a place of love. This is true for parts of myself. When stress or fear or fatigue or anger finds me, I can look at those parts of myself, and instead of shame them or bury them, I can say: You are a part of me I do not yet know. I can wonder: What information are you carrying? What would you like to do if you did not have to play this role? I can love all of me. Learning how to love all the parts of our inner-world builds our capacity to love all the parts of the outside world.

Valarie Kaur

1. MeckMIN Updates


These meetings are open to anyone or any group interested in promoting the common good in our shared Charlotte-Mecklenburg community.

We do not allow announcements from for-profit groups promoting their businesses or campaigning from political candidates. Beyond that, we don’t have rules for who can speak or what they can share as long as they support our commitments to respectful conversation and the dignity of all people.

Because we have a very wide array of beliefs and understandings within our membership and because we want to keep these meetings open as an open forum, we’re going to add this disclaimer to the minutes: "The views and opinions expressed here are those of the speakers/presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the MeckMIN board or our member organizations."

SAVE The DATE: COMMUNITY-WIDE INTERFAITH THANKSGIVING SERVICE Tuesday, November 21 | 7 - 9 PM | Trinity Presbyterian Church

This is always a meaningful community wide event. Please share with your community so they can save the date. Theme this year is “radical inclusion”. Help us share the word and get the event on people’s calendars.

High FIVEs to our 20 youth from 5 different faiths who participated in this year's Youth Summit! We visited communities of 4 different faiths, served at the Galilee Center, and learned some of the forgotten/erased history of Charlotte.

Thursday, September 21 | 6:30 PM | Baha'í Center of Charlotte

At an Open Tables gathering, diverse congregations come together for fellowship and dining; with the goal of building relationships based on our shared humanity that go beyond the divides of tribalism. Register HERE

*We will be assembling school supply pouches for CMS International Center -- please plan to arrive 10-15 minutes earlier if you'd like to volunteer.

Our theme of discussion will be EMPATHY and these are the questions we will be

  • How do you feel when someone else truly understands what you are going through?

  • How have you been able to tell that someone understands what you have experienced or felt?

  • What helps you understand what someone else is experiencing or feeling? What gets in your way?

  • How do you stay fully present and attentive when deeply listening to someone?

  • In what ways has empathy for another person prompted you to take action? Explain.


Saturday, October 21 | 9:30 - 1:30 PM

Mark your calendars for MeckMIN/JustServe next service project on October 21st from 9:30 AM to 1:30 with the Hope Tank Truck (parking lot of the Southern Comfort Motel at 4419 Tuckaseegee Rd.).

The 3 areas of service include:

· Cleaning the shower area after each use

· Cleaning the laundry center

· Cleaning the supply table

The Hope Vibes Team will guide you through the process.


Calling all YOUTH to mark their calendars for our next youth event - a visit to the Catawba Festival in Rock Hill on Saturday, November 18. Details to follow.


If you are not yet receiving our regular email newsletter be sure and sign up here:

2. Non-Profit Updates

The views and opinions expressed below are those of the speakers/presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the MeckMIN board or our member organizations.


Diego Torres |

The LAC is seeking donations of Pillows, Sheets, and Blankets for newly-arrived families who are living in tents due to a lack of housing options. They could also make use of backpacks. New and gently used items are welcome.


O’Shauna M. Hunter, J.D. | | 704.371.7144

Director of Housing Solutions | United Way of Greater Charlotte

601 East 5th Street, Suite 350 Charlotte, NC 28202

A Home For All Implementation Plan was released recently. This Plan represents the culmination of 28 months of rigorous planning, research, and community-wide collaboration. It details the current housing instability and homelessness challenges we face in Charlotte-Mecklenburg and, more importantly, dives deeper into the initial priorities to respond to and prevent these challenges.

The overall vision of A Home For All is to create a community where homelessness is rare, brief, and nonrecurring and every person has access to permanent, affordable housing and the resources to sustain it. In alignment with the vision, initial priorities are centered on three implementation pillars: Person-Directed Care, Prevention, and Housing Supply.

In leading the implementation of this community effort, United Way of Greater Charlotte will continue to work closely alongside Mecklenburg County, City of Charlotte, nonprofits, those with lived experience, and community stakeholders to address the full continuum of housing instability and homelessness across the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area.


What is the Difference b/w: Home For All - identify where the gaps are and make it better for the community Coordinated Entry – HMI system – HUD regulated

The Home for All entry system will include a wider range of options and be more flexible. -All the stages of the program have been and will be informed by the expertise of individuals who have experienced homelessness

-Participation is available in the implementation teams – reach out if you or your group is interested in joining the work What is the regular communication plan? I have not seen much in the Observer, TV stations, and the like about this initiative.

-A Grant was released this past Monday for a group interested in leading this new entry system -- see the United Way website for details

For communication notices sign up for the Home for All newsletter

I just want to make sure I heard clearly, you will be responsible for redesigning the RAMP program.

-They are Not redesigning the RAMP program – they will take the lessons learned from that program & redesign a new one

The New Way - A Home For All
Download PDF • 607KB


Crista Ray | | 980.859.5573

Partnerships and Faith Relations Senior Specialist

Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region

Habitat will be hosting a prayer walk with MPUMCA on Wednesday, September 20th at 8:30 AM, in the Meadows at Plato Price - our community that is under construction.

-Building a 39 home community, construction is underway, holding a prayer walk, hopefully catch people on their way to work, meditate on the history of the area & dream about the future of that community.

This event is free and open to all.

Sign up HERE


Sloan Crawford | | 704-443-1059

Co-Founder | Foster Village Charlotte

Board President

Becky Santoro | | 980-237-0261

Co-Founder | Foster Village Charlotte

Director of Programs & Development

Foster Village Charlotte focused on the foster care crisis in our community and the call to action for our houses of faith to advocate for the well-being of children and families in crisis by considering becoming foster or kinship caregivers. We'll invite houses of faith to encourage individuals interested to engage in workshops for prospective foster parents through Foster Village Charlotte this year. We will also provide a few "next steps" congregations can take to support the foster care system in our community.

-foster village is a collaboration b/w all agencies

-there is a strong need for foster care

-relationships are vital

-a loss of 20% of foster homes has contributed to the crisis

-social workers are working with far more clients than is “best practice”

-advocate for the foster care crisis

-we want our kids to stay in Charlotte and with their siblings

Needs for Faith Communities

-Support care giver families -Advocate through education

-Encourage individuals to consider foster care

MeckMin Pursuing Foster Care
Download PDF • 1.22MB


Rodney Hogue | | 704-930-1745 Employment Specialist Changing Lives 517 Blairhill Rd Charlotte, NC 28217 |

-Offer free vocational training for homeless veterans and previously incarcerated persons

-Offer Industry recognized classes in: CDL Class A and B, HVAC, and Automotive Repair, – 17 week classes (20 hrs per week)

-Assist with resume writing, interview prep

-Next class starts Oct 2nd


Jada Jackson, M.Ed. | | 704-954-8847

Community Engagement Manager | Northeastern University—Charlotte

2151 Hawkins St., Suite 800 | Charlotte, NC 28203

Northeastern University Charlotte’s 3rd annual Heart of Charlotte Awards are now OPEN and seeking nominations. I would love for you to nominate a colleague, community partner, and/or organization you work with, or support, that is doing great work in the community and deserving of recognition for their ongoing dedication. Heart of Charlotte Awards recognizes individuals and community organizations who are making an impact on the health and well-being of the Charlotte community. Honorees are celebrated for their exceptional commitment through a range of activities positively impacting the community: by going above and beyond to support the lives of marginalized individuals through equitable health practices, by investing in educational achievement, through the creation of jobs, or through the support of local business development, as well as by fostering social, racial, and health equity while consistently working to improve health outcomes.

Our nomination categories include:

*Community Partner of the Year (Organization)

*Behavior Analyst of the Year

*Community Engagement Award

*Community Leader of the Year – Northeastern University

*Educational Leader of the Year

*Healthcare Administrator of the Year

*Health Educator of the Year

*Health Equity Leader of the Year

*Health Policy Leader of the Year

*Nurse of the Year

*Public Health Leader of the Year

I would love to see individuals from you, your congregation, or one of your partner organizations honored! Our nomination form can be found through the link below. Feel free to send this information to anyone you think would be interested.


The Reverend Deacon Emily Parker | | 704-900-5210 x323

Executive Director, Galilee Ministries of East Charlotte

3601 Central Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28205

Are you interested in the ancient art of tai chi and how this wellness practice can benefit your body, mind, and spirit?

If so, RSVP and join us for an in-person information session at Galilee in September – details below!


Wednesday, September 20 | 2 pm – 3 pm


Friday, September 22 | 10 am – 11 am


Galilee Ministries of East Charlotte

3601 Central Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28205

RSVP to Emily Parker at or call 704-900-5210 x 323


Four Wednesdays, beginning September 6, 2023

Online event

Clarke Cochran | St. Peter Catholic Church

Who are these stories behind the numbers?

Join us for a 4 week discovery of the lived experiences of Death Row inmates as we read Right Here, Right Now: Life Stories from America’s Death Row. This program will include informative discussions that create spaces for attendees to engage and exchange, learn and educate, and explore the concept of Restorative Justice.

*Registration closes Sept. 4, 2023 at 8:00 pm

Join us in October for an in-person viewing of the film Racist Roots: Origins of North Carolina's Death Penalty with panel discussion to follow.


Kevin Nye, author of Grace Can Lead Us Home: A Christian Response to Homelessness is in town this weekend. Email me at for all the details.

I’ve referenced Kevin Nye’s Grace Can Lead Us Home: A Christian Call to End Homelessness in the 2x4 several times. In it, Kevin covers all the bases: housing first and harm reduction models, tent encampments and panhandlers, addiction and recovery. As one reviewer noted, “Kevin will challenge you to think outside all you may know about serving others.” Have I piqued your interest?

Throughout the book, Kevin invites us to examine our motivations and approaches. Here’s just one example:

In all my years of working in homeless services, having met thousands of individuals experiencing homelessness, I have never once met a truly service-resistant person. I have met people who did not want to talk to me, who curse me out, who told me to go to hell and any number of things when I have offered them particular services at particular times. But never once have I formed a relationship with someone whose true, authentic desire was to live on the streets and subsist on charity and handouts. When I’ve met those knee-jerk responses that many take as a final answer, I always try to dig deeper: What are they truly saying no to?

So here's what's up: Kevin will be in Charlotte September 2-3!

If you’re one of the lucky ones who is in town on Saturday, September 2, Kevin and I will be at Change Please Coffee (932 Seigel Avenue) at 10 a.m. Grab a cup of morning joe and join us for some guaranteed lively conversation on homelessness and what we can do about it.

Kevin will meet with faith community leaders (non-clergy and clergy) at Letty’s on Shamrock (2121 Shamrock Drive) at 4 p.m. Enjoy your beverage of choice and spend time with Kevin and others considering the role faith communities can play in ending homelessness.

And we're only halfway through the weekend! On Sunday, September 3, Kevin will speak at 11 a.m. at Caldwell Presbyterian Church (1609 E. 5th Street). Following the service, Kevin will continue the conversation in Hope Hall. All are welcome! No invitation required.


3. General Information


Grant opportunity for any organizations currently working on initiatives focused on chronic disease prevention and education. Please note: application deadline is Friday, Sept 8, 2023.


spread the word about opportunities for local organizations to participate in the JLC's Community Partnership program. The Community Partnership Application is now open and will be open until at least 9/15. For the second year, the JLC is partnering with organizations focused on children's mental and physical health. JLC will allocate financial and volunteer resources to promote, support and provide access to mental and physical health programs and services for children kindergarten to 5th grade in the Mecklenburg County Public Health priority zip codes.

The mission of the NBA Foundation is to drive economic opportunity in the Black community through employment and career development by funding programs that generate successful transitions from school to meaningful employment for Black youth.


Partners in Health and Wholeness is delighted to offer mini-grants to North Carolina faith communities interested in working around the overdose crisis. We are accepting applications now through November 30!

The first step to applying for a mini-grant is to join The PHW Collaborative. The Collaborative is open to any faith community in North Carolina who worships together regularly in a physical location.

Already a member of The Collaborative? Email us for a link to the grant application form.


Please note that the YMCA of Greater Charlotte has updated their website to include a Teen Mental Health Resource Hub. Check it out at the link below.

The Unitarian Universalist Association's Fund for a Just Society provides grants to non-Unitarian Universalist groups in the U.S. and Canada that have an active community organizing campaign that focuses on a specific systemic change for justice.


Ana Silva Rey | O. 704-552-1003 | C. 704.293-0482

Executive Director | Latin Americans Working for Achievement (LAWA)

Advancing the education and quality of life of Latinos in the Charlotte Region since 1992

We are proud to share the upcoming calendar for LAWA HIGH SCHOOL SERIES workshops for high school students and caregivers.

These free, bilingual, information events are designed to present the college application process, financial aid and academic programs at college and university campuses in the area.

With the support of 9 academic partners and dozens of sponsors we provide food, ACT/SAT prep books, and transportation from select sites.

Registration is encouraged to receive details of the event

Our team would be pleased to schedule a bus, provide posters, and attend your school or organization’s event.

Please email Amy Garcia to coordinate.

Together we can encourage Latino youth to achieve the dream of higher education.

About LAWA

Our mission is to advance the education and quality of life of Latinos in the Charlotte Region through scholarships, academic, and cultural programs. LAWA’s goals are to close academic achievement gaps, increase the number of students who pursue and complete post-secondary education, and prepare a self-sufficient and bilingual workforce. Two of our core programs are LAWA Youth Scholarships and High School Series workshops (HSS). They provide Latino youth with the knowledge and resources to become engaged contributing members of the community and workforce in the Charlotte region. Additionally, we provide LAWA Scholarship Recipients the opportunity for College Hacks events, which help our scholars navigate through college life and preparing them for future endeavors. If you’d like to learn more about LAWA please visit our website.


The county’s Community Engagement Task Group for Criminal Justice will be hosting a community conversation on Saturday, September 16 at the Allegra Westbooks Regional Library on Beatties Ford Rd. The main purpose of the meeting is to solicit input from the community related to recommendations that could be used to influence criminal justice system policies and practices.


"Some of our communities' biggest problems are solved by nonprofits staffed almost entirely by volunteers. Their work deserves the best design, marketing, and technology, but these are far too often out of reach of these impactful organizations. Most nonprofits don't have the resources, time, or know-how to design and develop the things it could take us just a day to create.

So for 12 hours, we gather the best designers and developers to work on projects for the most impactful organizations in the most creative and purposeful communities around the globe." - Make a Mark

Make a Mark is a 12-hour design and development marathon benefitting local humanitarian causes.

MAKE A MARK APPLICATION. Applications for nonprofits are now open until Sept. 5th.


EARLY VOTING has begun: Find early voting locations here.

Early voting for Charlotte City Council primaries has started, and runs through September 9. Primary Election Day is September 12. For more information on early voting, click here.

This municipal election is the first one in North Carolina with Voter ID. Fortunately, if you have a valid driver’s license or any one of these acceptable IDs, you don’t need to get a voter ID. If you do need a free voter ID, you can stop by your county Board of Elections. Learn more here.

Hard Reminder: When you show up to vote on Election Day, you can cast a ballot even if you forgot your ID. In the event you forget your driver’s license or Voter ID card, request an absentee ballot.

If you have any further questions about voting (or to check your registration status) visit the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections if you live in Charlotte and/or Mecklenburg County, or the North Carolina State Board of Elections.


In April, the NC Supreme Court issued a decision reinstating a 2018 law that requires North Carolinians to show photo identification when voting in elections. Many nonprofit organizations have expressed concerns that the voter ID law could make voting more difficult for many people served by nonprofits, particularly seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income citizens. Voter ID requirements will go into effect for this fall’s municipal elections. That means that many North Carolinians who don’t have a current photo ID will need to obtain one in the coming weeks to be able to vote in this fall’s municipal elections.

Nonprofit organizations have historically been among the most effective messengers for educating the people they serve about what steps to follow in order to vote because nonprofits are trusted by the people they serve. Nonprofits often serve people who don’t have photo IDs, so it is important for them to share resources for getting free photo IDs. The NC State Board of Elections (NCSBE) recently explained that voters without photo IDs have two options for obtaining free photo IDs:

1. The NC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offers free photo IDs that can be used for voting. Carolina Demography recently posted information about the 116 DMV offices in the state and the number of voters living in the vicinity of each of these sites.

2. Voters also can obtain free photo IDs from their county board of election. NCSBE explained this week that voters will simply need to provide their name, date of birth, and the last four digits of their Social Security number, and have their photo taken to get these IDs.

For more information, check out NCSBE’s 10 facts about photo IDs for voting. The Center will continue to share information about how your nonprofit can help people in your community understand voting rules as we get closer to this fall’s municipal elections.


Helms Jarrell | | 704.654.7429

Co-Director of QC Family Tree

Artist, Communitarian, Cultural Organizer

Organizing Pastor of Beloved Community Charlotte


Beloved Community Charlotte is a new church plant (2 years old) and we are looking for a Family Faith Formation Intern. This position pays $37/hr and requires 8 hours a month. Here is the link to the full description.

If you know of anyone who might be interested, please send them our way.


Our website was recently updated and we have a new (updated) page for free & low-cost clinics in the area. This includes an interactive map, along with a downloadable/printable listing in English and Spanish.

Feel free to share with your network if you feel this would be a helpful resource:

INTERFAITH TOTEM POLE PRAYER FOR THE WATER Thursday, September 14 | 9 AM - 12 Noon

Our friends Jewell James and House of Tears have traveled tens of thousands of miles, holding ceremonies across Turtle Island and gifting dozens of totem poles to communities to build upon, strengthen and reaffirm the growing Indigenous-led justice movements.

As they make their way to DC to peacefully inspire communities to join the intergenerational Call to Action for the release of political prisoner Leonard Peltier, 7 Directions will welcome these incredible guests on the banks of the Haw River for an Interfaith Prayer for the Water.

All are welcome to gather with us as we lay down prayers for the river’s rights, renewal and protection from threats such as the MVP Southgate, and pray for the wellbeing and release of Leonard Peltier.

· When: Thursday Sep 14 from 9am-noon

· Where: Red Slide Park, 103 Elk Street, Haw River, NC

· Light refreshments provided


Individuals, groups, families, or other teams are needed to organize collection drives in their community for essential items including clothing, school uniform items, socks, shoes, blankets, bedding, backpacks, etc. Collected items are provided free-of-charge to Mecklenburg County residents who shop in their Free Store.

Click HERE if you'd like to organize a collection drive.


Tuesday, September 5 | 5:30 - 7:30 PM | Student Union UNC Charlotte

Navigating Interfaith in Career is a panel and networking event with a focus on religious diversity across professional industries. The panel will explore concepts such as taking off for religious holidays, resources available to employees, and the importance of interfaith community building. Networking and refreshments to follow.

Register HERE


During the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress created a temporary exemption (known as continuous coverage) from annual Medicaid recertification rules that normally require Medicaid recipients to provide verification of their income, family size, and other information to ensure they remain qualified. The Medicaid continuous coverage provision ended on April 1, and the NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) began the process of recertifying Medicaid beneficiaries in North Carolina in June. Medicaid recipients need to contact their local Division of Social Services (DSS) office to ensure that it has their current contact information. While the process isn’t difficult, many North Carolinians stand to lose their Medicaid coverage if they don’t contact their local DSS office. Recent data suggests that a significant number of North Carolinians are losing their Medicaid coverage for “procedural reasons.” Your nonprofit may be able to help others in your community maintain their coverage by providing clear information to the people you serve.

DHHS originally projected that as many as 300,000 North Carolinians – many of whom receive services from nonprofits – could lose their Medicaid benefits if they don’t recertify. Many of these North Carolinians may have begun participation in Medicaid during the pandemic and may be unfamiliar with the recertification process. According to data from DHHS, in June and July alone, more than 68,000 North Carolinians lost their Medicaid coverage, including about 60,000 people who lost coverage for “procedural reasons.” Based on these trends, it’s possible that far more than 300,000 North Carolinians will ultimately lose coverage through this review, the vast majority for preventable “procedural” reasons. Some of the people losing their Medicaid coverage may qualify again once Medicaid expansion begins in North Carolina, but they will still have a gap in coverage for at least the next few months.

Your nonprofit can help make sure that the people you serve keep their Medicaid coverage by sharing information with them about the recertification process and the need to confirm their contact information with their local DSS office. Three nonprofits – The Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy, Pisgah Legal Services, and Legal Aid of North Carolina – recently launched to answer questions about NC Medicaid services, including eligibility determination. The website has direct links to each county’s DSS office and information about legal help and health coverage options for people who have lost their Medicaid coverage through this process.




Rest is the prerequisite for the work, not its reward.

- Michael-Ray Mathews

Michael-Ray hosts a marvelous podcast in which he interviews a diverse array of interfaith leaders:

Welcome to the Prophetic Resistance podcast hosted by Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews. Grounded in our diverse faith traditions, we are exploring what it means to embody love in the face of fear, to show up like hope in seasons of despair, to stand ready to be light in the darkness and water in a parched land. In each episode, we are learning from the stories, traditions, and wisdom of our beloved community of freedom-fighters, justice-seekers, and faith leaders. And together, we are investigating how – in this moment –

Next meeting:

Sept 14th - Thursday at 11 a.m.


bottom of page