March 19, 2020| Faith, Community and Non-Profit Leader Covid-19 Check-In Meeting
Our weekly check-in meeting is open to anyone interested in supporting compassionate community response to our most vulnerable neighbors in this time of crisis. Meetings are held online every Thursday from 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Please email LeDayne Polaski for Zoom access code. We look forward to seeing you!
Dear Friends, Below you’ll find many resources to assist you and your house of faith in these times of change and challenge. Included is information on:
The stay at home order
A call to check the closets at your house of faith
The newly-formed CharMeck Responds Coalition of which MeckMIN is a member
Resources to help families mitigate the financial impact of this crisis
Opportunities to donate or volunteer
At-home education resources
Living Room Activism ideas from Habitat for Humanity
Updates and helpful contacts from the county
STAY AT HOME ORDER AND FAITH COMMUNITIES A Stay-At-Home order is in effect. Below is the official statement from the office of emergency management on conducting virtual worship services: “Faith-based organizations are still allowed to live stream services provided that they abide by the restriction of 10 or fewer people physically on-site while practicing proper social distancing protocols.” Below you’ll find two posters you can share outlining in simple terms what people can and cannot do at this time.
DO YOU HAVE EXTRAS? In this time when many of our congregations are not meeting in person for worship or other gatherings, perhaps you have supplies you are not using that you can put to good use. One local congregation discovered a treasure trove of toilet paper and cleaning supplies in a closet — which they promptly donated to a nonprofit active in supporting people through the pandemic. Another house of faith that regularly hosts meals, instead of canceling their weekly food deliveries, has redirected them to local food banks. Do you have something you might share?
Charlotte-Mecklenburg is coming together in a unified response to the COVID-19 Crisis. To this end, we have formed the CharMeck Responds Coalition. This coalition is made up of many faith partners, nonprofits, businesses, and other community organizations that are committed to making sure all the members of our community are cared for during this unprecedented time.
Officially, the CharMeck Responds Coalition is part of the city/county’s VOAD Team (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, FEMA’s Emergency Support Function #16), reporting to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management.A wide variety of information and resources is available at charmeckresponds.org.
Friday, March 27 – Sunday, March 29 Online
Join Faith in Public Life and fellow faith communities for a weekend dedicated to 2020 Census outreach. During this time, faith leaders share important information and encourage their community to participate in the 2020 Census. The census only happens once a decade and determines critical funding and representation for our communities to flourish. Let us celebrate our dignity through spreading the word about the census to ensure all of our communities gets counted. Click here for more details, resources toolkits, and action ideas. If you are an organization or nonprofit, click here to sign Faith in Public Life’s letter committing to a faithful census.
Refuge Hotline— Immigrants and refugees can find support by TEXTING 980-263-9334 in their native language. They will receive a personal response.
Parks All County parks, nature preserves and greenways are open to the public except for organized athletics (practices and games). The department will honor existing reservations at picnic shelters and indoor pavilions for events under 50.
Safe Alliance In light of public health concerns related to COVID-19, Safe Alliance remains committed to serving survivors. While in person services are currently being limited, our 24/7 Greater Charlotte Hope Line (980-771-4673) is remotely staffed and ready to help. The Hope Line provides safety planning; advocacy; parenting support; shelter referrals for people in imminent danger; the latest information on court and protective order availability; and more. You are not alone. www.safealliance.org
Substance Use/ Mental Health
For mental health emergency response, call Atrium’s Behavioral Health Help Line at 704-444-2400 or Mecklenburg County Mobile Crisis at 704-566-3410 and select option 1 for support.
On-Line AA meetings http://aa-intergroup.org/directory.php
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Telehealth and Teletherapy
The Smith Family Wellness Center at Project 658 is providing telehealth and teletherapy to those in need that are currently not being served by their PCPs, hospitals, or current mental health providers. They want to reach out to our community to ensure nobody is turned away due to current restrictions. Please contact Diana Moser-Burg, Ph, Integrated Care Clinical Manager, Smith Family Wellness Center at Project 658 at <firstname.lastname@example.org> with any identified needs.
Free Leading Groups On-Line resource
Amidst the covid-19 pandemic, teachers, educators, trainers, organizers, consultants, and event planners are being asked to do the same things but now suddenly online. As two experienced online facilitators, Jeanne Rewa and Daniel Hunter wrote a booklet to give people some lessons they can use right away: Leading Groups Online: a down-and-dirty guide to leading online courses, meetings, trainings and events during the coronavirus pandemic.
Because we wrote this amidst a growing global pandemic, we weave in tips and suggestions about how to support people psychologically in this moment. We include a generic agenda that includes appropriate activities, concrete ideas and practices in the always-useful principle of “Honor people’s emotional state”, and a resource we’ve found useful for supporting people in crises. The booklet includes:
10 Key Principles for leading groups online in the time of the coronavirus pandemic
A toolkit of flexible Online session activities you can use in various software
A process for Moving your in-person plans online
Template slides for a live session, with a link to download your own editable copy
Answers to Frequently asked questions, like “How can our group make decisions online?” and “How do we handle very large groups?” and “What do I do about tech problems?”
Finding steady ground in a time of crisis
RESOURCES TO MITIGATE FINANCIAL IMPACT
Unemployment benefitshave been expanded for NC workers impacted by COVID-19. Details about the Executive Order’s change to unemployment benefits and how to apply are at the Department of Commerce Website.
Crisis Assistance is assisting families to avoid hotel evictions— 704-371-3001, ext. 123.
Senior food options
Many local stores have started dedicating their first hour open to seniors so they can shop without being exposed to everyone else.
Dollar General – Preferred hours for seniors, daily, 8a until 9a
Target – Wednesdays, open an hour early for elderly or others who have underlying health conditions.
Walmart – Tuesdays, customers aged 60 or older, is open an hour early for seniors. It starts Tuesday, March 24, through April 28.
Whole Food Market – Open to seniors age 70 and older 1 hour before the public each day. (That means the uptown Charlotte Whole Foods is open to seniors 70+ from 7a-8a before it opens to the general public at 8am.)
Here are a few options for seniors to pick up food
Mar 20th -12:30 – 1:30 – Parker Heights Apartments: 1505 Parker Dr.
Monday – Friday 12:00 – 1:00 – Christ Resurrection Church: 4527 Freedom Drive ( Senior citizens can be signed up for preference – on their website: christresurrectionchurch.org or call 704-398-3244 and a meal will be reserved)
Meals for students
CMS, at a long list of schools, you do not have to pick up from your kids’ actual school but the kids must be present to pick up. See list: https://www.cms.k12.nc.us/cmsdepartments/csh/covid-19/Pages/Meal-Distribution-Information.aspx
Various restaurants spearheaded by Loyalist Market.
Cuzzo’s, 11a-3p, Tue-Fri. Kid must be present. 12 years or younger.
Enderly Coffee, 11a-2p. Mon-Fri, for any child on free lunch program, child does not need to be present.
Noble Smolke, 11a-2p, Mon-Fri, for any child on free lunch program, child does not need to be present.
St Luke Missionary Baptist and Sacred Souls Community Church. Mon-Fri. 12p-2p. Child must be present.
Food within Walls at Movement Center (2225 Freedom Dr). Grab and Go Lunch and Breakfast Items. 11a-1p. Kids not required to be present.
MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. – Thousands of people are now out of work with COVID-19 changing our everyday lives. There is hope for those out of a job right now. FOX 46 found several businesses in the Charlotte area that are looking to hire for hundreds of open positions.For full article:
HOW TO APPLY:
Bagger; Cashier / Self Checkout Cashier; Customer Service; Driver; Fresh Foods / Deli / Bakery; Fuel Center; Grocery; Home Shopping; Produce
Charlotte, North Carolina, United States
Please see link below. Amazon looking to hire 100,000 new employees to keep up with growing services during corona virus pandemic. They’re paying $2.00 more an hour starting out and may help some of our clients supplement income lost during this time. Article: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/16/amazon-to-hire-100000-warehouse-and-delivery-workers.html
Link to their delivery service positions: https://www.amazondelivers.jobs/about/driver-jobs
Access NC job postings and information at: https://www.ncworks.gov/vosnet/Default.aspx
Participants can sign up for job training and employment programs on our website. They can start with filling out the application form at https://goodwillsp.org/train/job-connections/client-service-application/ or by calling (704) 916-1608.FINANCESIn an attempt to provide a needed service to those we all serve who have financial questions arising from the COVID-19 crisis, Common Wealth Charlotte has established an “COVID-19 Financial Question” system. This system is designed specifically for low-income wage earners having concerns about current (or impending) financial hardship due to loss of income from job cessation, voluntary or mandatory quarantines or other hardships caused by COVID-19.Access to the system is easy: Text the word “finances” to 474747The sender will receive a text response with a link to complete a short “COVID-19 Financial Question” form. That form will be returned to a queue CWC has set up, and our Advanced Financial, Education and Loan Administration teams and trained volunteers will respond with a phone call to address the question, offer relevant guidance if possible, and make referrals to other appropriate agencies as necessary.We do not know how to anticipate demand for this system, and we cannot guarantee we will be able to provide answers for every situation. But we will do the best we can to expedite return contact and to provide some basic information on issues we expect people to face. We believe we will field many “what if I cannot…” questions, including:
… pay my mortgage?
… make my car payment?
… pay my rent?
… feed my family?
… pay my utility bill?
… pay my credit card?
… pay my income taxes?
VOLUNTEER AND DONATION OPPORTUNITIES MECKMIN’S FIRST 2020 INTERFAITH SERVICE PROJECTFriday, April 3, 2020 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. We will continue with this service project in a different form based on current social distancing recommendations and continued need among our neighbors in the Enderly Park neighborhood. We want to create and deliver a dozen food boxes for families. Please visit the NEW sign-up genius form to let us know what you can provide.
Loaves and Fishes — https://loavesandfishes.org/covid19-response/
Needs include volunteers to sort and pack emergency food boxes, financial donations, and participation in their virtual food drive. Full and up-to-date resources can be found on their web site.
The Urban Ministry Center — https://www.urbanministrycenter.org/join-the-conversation/news-events/
Having cancelled the remainder of the Room in the Inn season due to health concerns, UMC has created an Amazon Wish List of items of particular value to our neighbors experiencing homelessness. This list is being regularly updated. You may purchase items from the list here:
They are also seeking grab-and-go lunches as they continue to serve hundreds of neighbors every day. https://www.meckmin.org/bagged-lunches-for-urban-ministry-center/
Crisis Assistance Ministry — https://www.crisisassistance.org/programs/meeting-basic-needs-during-covid-19-restrictions/
Having temporarily closed their facilities, CMC is still working to ensure local families remain in stable housing. They are providing help particularly for families facing eviction from long-stay hotels. Donations are needed for this and for the coming spike in need.
Block Love CLT
The folks at Block Love CLT have been going out daily to share food with neighbors experiencing homelessness, a task made even more important because many of the organizations that normally offer food have suspended operations. They are asking for easy to share items such as: Canned meats such as tuna, sardines, vienna sausages, potted meat, chicken, spam; snack crackers and cookies, chips, soups in a cup, spaghetti o’s , ravioli, waters and juices. Also needed is fresh fruit like bananas and oranges. Drop off donations at 1245 Tom Hunter RD (the small house directly beside Bread of Life Church that serves as the organization’s hub.) They can also come to you if you have a large donation.Text Contact Deborah Woolard, 704-577-1812 to volunteer or to offer food.
Assisting with CMS meal distribution
Volunteer needs at each CMS meal distribution site are being assessed. In the meantime, individuals who are interested in volunteering can sign up at http://bit.ly/VolunteerforCMS.
CTION to 44321
The Nest Academy — Refugee and Immigrant Students and Their Families
The Nest Academy’s founder MC Hildreth and her dedicated staff are making sure that their 24 refugee, immigrant, and underprivileged students and families are still getting food and critical supplies during this crisis. Please visit www.thenestacademy.org to find donations desperately needed at this time.
QC Family Tree is a grassroots community development organization in the Enderly Park neighborhood. They are regularly updating their needs here: https://tinyurl.com/neighborupdate
Tips for service industry professionals
Now is the time to support the service industry professionals.There’s a way to help the many service industry workers who are suddenly unemployed. Charlotte Agenda just launched #tipCLT, a page on our website where you can give a virtual tip to a service industry professional who’s been financially affected by coronavirus.
When you go to the site, click “Meet Your Server” to randomly generate the Venmo account of a service industry professional in need of financial assistance. Then, click the Venmo button and type in how much you want to give. It’s easy.
If you can, please share this website with friends and family and on social media using #tipCLT. And if you know a service industry professional who has been financially affected by coronavirus, share this page with them. We hope it helps.
Join the Caremongering-Charlotte(NC) Facebook page.
Community Culinary School of Charlotte: Our Café is open for TAKEOUT ONLY, offering curbside service, from 10:30 am – 2:00 pm Monday – Friday. We want to serve you, so call us at 704-375-4500 to place your order
Community Table Bistrois offering take-out, which you can access through the ChowNow ordering system, or by calling (980) 636-1000.
Community Matters CafeWe’d love to see you when things have settled down. Your support will help make that a reality! Send a digital gift cardin any amount you choose to your friends, family, or yourself!
Though our local library buildings are closed, many library resources are available electronically.
Do you know someone who doesn’t have a Library card and wants one. Click here to Get a Card and apply online to begin using a card immediately. Library cards are free for Mecklenburg County residents and $45 for residents outside the County.
Your Library’s mission is to improve lives and build a stronger community. Access to resources is important – even while practicing social distancing (limiting physical closeness to others to reduce the risk of exposure to disease). With recommendations to stay home and avoid crowds, this is a perfect opportunity to explore the world of e-books, e-audiobooks, movies, music, newspapers, magazines and more resources you can access for FREE, from anywhere, with your Library card. Don’t have a Library card? Sign-up for one now.
Stay well and stay engaged with digital resources you can access today:* E-books & More freegal hoopla (10 borrows effective now) Kanopy Kanopy Kids (unlimited borrows effective now) NC Kids Digital Library OverDrive/libby (20 borrows effective now) Looking for titles on OverDrive that are always available? Click here. RBdigital magazines (unlimited borrows effective now)
Storytime Find storytime videos at our Digital Branch!
Additional resources Need help navigating Library resources? Click the green flag labeled “Resource Tutorials” to the right of the Resources page to access our Niche Academy tutorial videos.
Wi-Fi remains available at all Library locations. Wi-Fi signal will be extended at each branch to reach the perimeter of the facility.
Questions? We can help you. Online chat is available Monday-Friday from 9 a.m-6 p.m. Click “Ask a Librarian” on bottom of the cmlibrary.org website.
IntelliSeeds Learning — Three months free!
IntelliSeeds Learning, an online supplemental learning site for ages 3-15) in partnership with MeckMin, to give free 3 month unlimited access to all their online Math, Reading, Language Arts, Science and Mental Ability content. No credit card or commitment needed. Here is how parents and teachers can sign up:
1) Go to www.IntelliSeeds.com
2) Click on green “Redeem Voucher” button on top
3) Enter email and voucher code “MeckMin”
4) Create free account. No credit card or auto-renewal needed
Read Charlottelearning-at-home resources
We Are Teachershas a variety of resources:
Here is a curated compilation of resources compiled by Green Faith “Spiritual Resources For Care and Resilience in the Time of Coronavirus.”
Finding Steady Ground — 7 behaviors to thrive in times of crisis
LIVING ROOM ADVOCACY — a resource from Habitat for Humanity CharlotteLiving Room AdvocacyHow to make a difference while staying home!During these times of confusion and uncertainty, we know that on the other side of the Coronavirus pandemic lingers our housing affordability crisis. If you’re looking for something to do in the coming weeks, we have several key advocacy initiatives about which we’d love for you to contact your elected officials!Not sure who your elected officials are? Enter your address and find our who represents you here.City of CharlotteIssue: Source of Income DiscriminationFor several months, Habitat Charlotte has been partnering with 29 other organizations to outlaw Source of Income Discrimination (SOID) in Charlotte’s housing market. SOID occurs whenever a landlord refuses to accept payment for housing that doesn’t come from an applicant’s paycheck. We believe that if a family can legally and verifiably pay rent, it shouldn’t matter where those funds come from. We are in the process of meeting with Councilmembers about our proposed solution and continue to collect signatures for our public petition. You can find the petition here.Call to Action: Urge your councilmember to support amending the City’s Fair Housing Ordinance to include protections against Source of Income Discrimination.Find your Councilmember’s contact information here.Mecklenburg CountyGratitude: Funding for Critical Home RepairLast year, Mecklenburg County boldly stepped into the affordable housing arena. One of their bold steps was granting Habitat $1 million for the Critical Home Repair program. We are projecting that these funds will help 68 projects by the end of the fiscal year. These are 68 families we would not be able to help had it not been for County funds. Further, these funds have led to subcontracting work for dozens of small and minority owned contractors.Call to Action: Thank your Commissioner for their generous support of Habitat’s Critical Home Repair.Find your Commissioner’s contact information here.State PolicyIssue: Property Tax assistance for fixed-income familiesCharlotte’s growth has led to home values increasing across the region. While great for resale values, this is a dangerous predicament for families living on fixed and low incomes. With rising costs of living, many families, particularly seniors, are struggling to afford to stay in their homes. Rising property tax bills lead to many tough choices; do I pay my taxes or pay for my medicine? If I move, where can I afford to move to? We believe selling a home should be a choice, not a forced decision due to property taxes.The North Carolina General Assembly holds the authority to empower local governments and citizens to protect their homes. While specifics of legislation are being ironed out, you can help prime the pump of change with the next General Assembly in 2021.Call to Action: Ask your legislators and candidates for the state legislature to look at addressing property tax assistance for fixed income and low-income families.Find your Representative’s contact information here.Federal PolicyIssue: Community Development Block GrantsThe Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is a flexible program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs. The CDBG program provides 1,209 grants to local and state governments every year. These funds add and preserve over 100,000 homes every year.Last year, Charlotte received $5,827,128 in CDBG funding. Habitat Charlotte Region has used these funds for our Critical Home Repair program and will be using $1.2MM in CDBG funds for land grading and other infrastructure developments in our new neighborhood on Morris Field Drive.These critical funds are in danger of being completely eliminated in the upcoming 2021 budget cycle.Call to Action: Urge your members of Congress to protect CDBG funding.Issue: Community Reinvestment ActThe Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) encourages financial institutions to meet the financing needs of the communities in which they do business. The CRA encourages banks to service the needs of low and moderate-income neighborhoods.As the “Wall Street of the South,” Charlotte greatly benefits from the CRA as it has led to financing for countless investments across the Charlotte region. This includes financing of low-income housing developers such as Habitat.Call to Action: Urge your members of Congress to support CRA.Contact Congresswoman AdamsContact Congressman BishopContact Senator BurrContact Senator Tillis
Updates from DSS, and some of our employment and partner agencies
DSS offices are closed to the public but staff continues to work onsite or remotely to provide services. For questions call 704-336-3000. More specific info included below.
Food & Nutrition Services (FNS) – Intake & Redeterminations We encourage customers to apply online at https://epass.nc.gov/CitizenPortal/application.do or through a mail for all applications and recertifications. To receive a mail-in application and assistance in applying for benefits, call 704-336-3000. Recertification paperwork is automatically mailed to the customer’s last known mailing address. Completed recertification packets should be mailed to 301 Billingsley Rd Charlotte NC 28211. If recertification paperwork was not received and the case is due for recertification, customers can complete the process online using ePASS at https://epass.nc.gov/CitizenPortal/application.do. Customers can also call Customer Connect at 704-336-3000 for recertification assistance.
Adult and Family & Children’s Medicaid Customers can apply online using ePASS (https://www.nc.gov/services/e-pass). After the application has been submitted online, a DSS employee will reach out to complete the interview by telephone.
Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) Customers can apply online through ePASS at https://epass.nc.gov/CitizenPortal/application.do or complete a mail-in application. To receive a mail-in application, call 704-336-3000.
Mecklenburg Transportation Services (MTS) For transportation scheduling, call 704-336-4547.
Senior Congregate Nutrition Program (SCNP) SCNP has closed all congregate meal sites and is delivering meals to food insecure customers. For confirmation on a food delivery, call 704-432-1111.
The Department of Social Services hotlines operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week to receive reports of suspected abuse or neglect. To report abuse of seniors or the disabled, call 704-336-CARE (2273). To report abuse, neglect or human trafficking of children, call 980-31-HELPS (43577).