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Feb 11, 2021 | 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. Email LeDayne Polaski for Zoom access code. In addition, if you would like to receive notification when these minutes are posted, please subscribe to our newsletter.


In this Issue:


Important Dates:





Opening Reflection

Elena Sepulveda from Caldwell Presbyterian,Charlotte, NC

Creator, grant us the patience to work together with … you are the alpha and omega. Your light is in all forms, … may we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake. … may we remember those who have no options or no place to go. May your holy spirit … creator we trust that you are good and to do good. … when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other let us find a way … may we know that we are your instruments…. Bring hope to the hopeless and unity where there is conflict … empowered by your holy spirit. Motivate us through love to work together embolden us to … Amen.


1. MeckMIN Updates

MeckMIN offers monthly Food for Thought presentations as a way to gather persons from different faith groups and ethnicities, to break bread together, and to share in relevant issues of common concern. Join a presentation and discussion about a wide range of issues that affect our community.

February 18 "Using Story to Shape Community" with Greg Jarrell and Hannah Hasan . REGISTER HERE!

Click Here to view valuable resources featured from past Food for Thought presentations!


Please share !

PREMIERE OF Crisis and Compassion Episod
Download • 174KB

Premiere of Crisis and Compassion Episode 3: “Doing the Work”

Where: Zoom (register using the link below to get zoom access)

When: February 23, at 7 PM

Contacts: LeDayne McLeese Polaski, Executive Director;; 704-965-9241 , Kendal P. Mobley, Th.D., Associate Professor of Religion, Spiritual Life Center Coordinator, Johnson C. Smith University,; (980) 643-0303 (voice/text)

Crisis and Compassion Episode 3: “Doing the Work,” will premiere February 23, at 7 PM. In this episode, leaders from five different religious traditions share the values and motivations prompting their responses to the Covid-19 pandemic and talk about what they’ve learned along the way.

Episode 3 features interviews with Jermaine Nakia Lee, founder and Executive Director of Poor No More, Pawanjit Singh of Gurdwara Sahib Charlotte, the Rev. Jonathan Coppege-Henley of Cokesbury United Methodist Church, the Ven. Ayya Sudhamma of the Charlotte Buddhist Vihara, the Rev. Jay Leach of the Unitarian Universalist Community of Charlotte, and Michael and Fran Mastry of the Bahá’í Community of Charlotte. Following the screening of the episode, there will be an opportunity for questions and discussion.

The Crisis and Compassion team is Dr. Kendal Mobley, Associate Professor of Religion and Coordinator of the Spiritual Life Center at Johnson C. Smith University, JCSU students Exodus Moon and Iyanla Parsanlal, and LeDayne McLeese Polaski, Executive Director of Mecklenburg Metropolitan Interfaith Network (MeckMIN). Other partners in this project include Bridge Builders Charlotte, the Gambrell Foundation, and Interfaith Youth Core.

To attend the premiere event, follow the link below to register. Once you’ve registered, you will have access to the Zoom link and password for the event. Feel free to share the registration information with others in your community, but please do not share the Zoom link and password, as we want everyone who attends to register. Thank you! And please note that the premiere event will be recorded.

Crisis and Compassion Series, Episode 3, Doing the Work, MeckMIN

Telling Charlotte's Interfaith Story: Helping people recognize the value of religious pluralism for the Charlotte community is the aim of the JCSU Bridge Builders project. Their team has produced a series of short documentary videos that capture how diverse religious communities are responding to the pandemic--often through virtual efforts. Watch for the release of films highlighting MeckMIN's efforts to mobilize our diverse faith communities to meet critical needs during the pandemic.


MeckMIN Interfaith Youth Events

We're excited to update you about MeckMIN interfaith youth activities and cordially invite your participation and the participation of the youth with whom you work!

We continue to have regular activities for middle and high school youth, both Covid-safe, in-person service activities and "get to know you" Zoom gatherings. If you work with youth and would like to get notices about these events, email LeDayne at

Save the Date! July 15-18, 2021| In Our Own Backyard (IOOBY), an interfaith camp for high schoolers (rising 10, 11, 12th graders).

We are obviously paying close attention to the pandemic and we believe we'll be able to safely offer some version of the experience this July 15-18, 2021. We would be very grateful if you would share the invitation below with any youth going into 10, 11, or 12 grade. Of course, a one on one conversation would have the most impact so if you know of young people who might be interested, it would be GREAT if you could mention it to them.

Interfaith Summer Camp, In Our Own Backyard, MeckMIN, Charlotte, NC


Youth Leaders Meeting (ZOOM) Monday, March 15, from 4 to 5 p.m.

This meeting is open to all youth leaders in Mecklenburg County who are interested in interfaith opportunities. Email LeDayne at to get the Zoom invitation.

If you have friends/colleagues who work with youth as staff or as volunteers, please pass along this information and/or connect us to them. We would very much like to expand our outreach list.


MeckMIN Community Awards Breakfast

MeckMIN Annual Community Leader Awards Breakfast 2021

Support ranges from $250 to $5000.


2. Tent City Follow Up

There was a lot of discussion last week about Tent City and best practices. (Click here if you missed) Someone who was on the call has volunteered to put together a grassroots directory of orgs working in the space along with a Do’s and Don’ts to share. In addition, we are considering a one-time Zoom gathering for connections and coordination in the space.


3. Nonprofit Updates & Volunteer Needs

Sonya Castellino

NC Education Corps is a joint project of the North Carolina State Board of Education, the governor’s office, and local school districts. The state is hiring 70 tutors and 35 contact tracers. Corps members commit up to five months of paid service. Their roles have been designed to meet the needs of the local school and utilize the skill sets of the particular corps member. In general superintendents are requesting help tutoring, counseling, navigating technology, coordinating volunteer services, and more. Applications are currently open and will close on February 20th. Can you share this information – including this video – with your networks and encourage people to apply? The positions pay a living wage and require a high school mastery of English. Tutors will be contract employees.


Emmanuel & Adrienne Threatt, M: 980-292-4522, A: PO Box 481653 Charlotte, NC 28269-9598, W:, E:

Hope Vibes exists to develop creative exit strategies to end homelessness through direct relief, research, innovation, advocacy and systemic disruption. We provide dignity through personal hygiene products, mobile laundry/shower vehicles & conversation. To become a monthly partner or make a one-time donation, visit

We are young organization. We have developed a vehicle called the Hope Tank which is a mobile shower and laundry services. We also developed a solar powered touchless hygiene station for our unhoused neighbors that is currently operating as a pilot program off Brookshire Blvd.

We are always looking for volunteers who want to develop relationships with our homeless neighbors. You can sign up for volunteer opportunities on our website, host a hygiene station at your organization or just write notes of support and care to our unhoused neighbors.

Currently the Hope Tank gets out 1 or 2 times/week but with more volunteers we could increase its use.

We could use donations of undergarments and underwear as well as laundry detergent.

Tracey ONeal,, 910-297-9612

Prevent Child Abuse NC has a special program aimed at Congregations called Congregations Matter. If you are interested in sharing your works and open to assisting us with connections, stories, outreach in multi-faith communities and learning more, please contact Tracey.

We work with faith based groups across denominations, both Christian and non-Christian to help build trauma sensitivity and build resilience across the state. We have a connected congregation/children’s sabbath in April. We are starting a new faith website soon to provide you with tools and resources to help you with the connections in your congregation.

Please check out our Learning and Leadership Summit on March 16th and 17th. If you want to share the work you are doing in your congregation we would love to highlight it. Reach out to learn more or share your work.

Joshua,, (980) 263-9348

Thank you for those who are caring for the folks in tent city. In general we have been working in tent city since 2015. Our goal is to end chronic poverty in Charlotte and then NC. Chronic homelessness is acute right now. We have community feeding programs – mobile and stationary. It is more than mobile food – we bring tents, vitamins, medicine, resources of all kinds. We work with other non-profits to provide counseling and work with others to try to provide jobs. We are on the ground all the time.

We have a big need for volunteers. You can sign up for volunteer needs on our signup genius. We need non-perishable food. Contact us via email or on the web (email is better or at our donation center, 5736 n Tryon st suite 106 Charlotte nc 28213)

Pam Pearson, 704-641-4845

We help people secure ids for voting and other needs. Our services are free. We help them get their state ids and get them to appointments and pay for the documents. Help them get birth certificates and social security cards and we partner with Atrium and Novant as well. We partner with organizations like soup kitchens, Roof Above, supportive housing, and more. Pitch them on getting registered and then go help them with the ids. This group has been so helpful at connecting us that Pam is now recruiting additional volunteers. Please reach out to her if you can join the effort. You can also reach out to Pam if people in your network could use her services.


Heath Burchett,,, cell: 336-661-5182

Watchmen of the Streets has been working with people who are homeless in Charlotte since 2013. There remain folks who cannot or will not access shelters. Tent City is all around 277 and there are clusters of groups all around. A lot of faith communities and new non-profits and families trying to help. We want to continue our relationships with those in tent city but we don’t deliver as many items as usual because folks turn things down because they are inundated with things from other groups. I am afraid we will see more people homeless before we see it get better. We are focusing on North and South charlotte and encampments outside of tent city because they aren’t receiving the same things.


March 11th at 6:30 will be the sixth annual Building Futures Affordable Housing Symposium. This year’s event will feature author and UC Irvine Law Professor Mehrsa Baradaran who will delve into the crucial roles that banks and financial institutions have played in creating and maintaining racial injustice in our country, including wealth inequity and racial discrimination.

Ms. Baradaran will be joined by Natosha Reid Rice, Habitat for Humanity International’s Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, where they will field attendee questions.

Building Futures is free of charge, open to the public, and part of Habitat Charlotte Region’s Beloved Community initiative in support of racial equity and affordable housing. REGISTER HERE!


RAMPCLT COVID-19 Emergency Housing & Utility Assistance

Applications have reopened for assistance with rent, mortgage and utility. If you need help paying these bills because of a COVID-19 hardship, submit your application at

RAMPCLT and Crisis are not the same but often refer to one another depending on the need of the client. They can help ensure you are applying to the right program.


Transcend Charlotte is still looking for storage space for their donations. It should be large enough to allow volunteers work out of it on a limited basis, under COVID restrictions.


We usually hire 7-8 college interns each summer. This summer we will only need 3-4 so if there is a local agency or organization that would like a part-time college age intern for the summer we have extra. We cannot pay them but we can provide housing. Sometimes they are happy to work for no pay because they need the experience. Contact Erika if you have a need.


We are continuing our work of providing a food pantry on the Hearts Beat as One campus. As before, there is no referral or proof of need required. Wedgewood wanted to publicly thank Andrea and Friendship Baptist Church for providing an enormous donation to the food pantry after one of these calls. Thank you so much.


4. Community Resources

From Mecklenburg County Health and County Commissioner Leigh Altman and Kimberly Scales,

Download PDF • 155KB

  • We are opening up group 3 on Feb 24th. That will include day care workers and teachers k-12. Pre-school programs ARE included. See attached document for details.

  • Teachers will get priority in Group 3.

  • New appointment scheduling will open this Friday at 8:30 a.m.

  • Vaccinating Groups 1 and 2 is ongoing. A new waitlist option to be debuted for eligible individuals.

  • Feb. 24th we will focus on K-12 teachers and others who work in the school setting, childcare workers, in addition to Groups 1 and 2.

  • March 10, per the Governor, we will open up to the remainder of Group 3.

This is challenging for us because the amount of vaccine provided to us is still very limited. Although we have given out 79K first doses, that is just about 7% of our population. (Meck Public Health has administer 22k first and second doses of vaccines.) There are some federal efforts to increase the amount of vaccine in our community, including a program that includes Walgreen's starting Feb. 13th. They are sticking to the prioritization schedule of the state too. This week we expect to receive 2925 Pfizer and 600 Moderna vaccines. We will be opening up some additional appt slots for the week of Feb. 22 and the first two weeks of March. They will be available online or 980 314 9400, Option 3 for English and Option 8 for Spanish. These appts will made available only beginning 8:30 am on Friday Feb. 12th. On Friday, we will be releasing a new waitlist option that will allow individuals who are unable to make an appt to be able to submit information for Meck to contact them when appts become available based on supply and eligibility. We are working to make the website available in English and Spanish.

Transportation: Charlotte Area Transit System will provide direct bus service to Bojangles Coliseum for community members to access their scheduled COVID-19 vaccine appointments. CATS will provide two direct bus routes; one from the Charlotte Transportation Center (CTC) and one from Eastland Community Transit Center. Service will operate Monday through Saturday starting at 7:30 p.m. Each day, the last direct trip to Bojangles Coliseum will depart the transit centers at 4:30 p.m.

At the CTC, riders should board in Bay K. At Eastland, riders should locate the same bus bay as Route 221. Buses providing service to the vaccine center will have a corresponding headway sign. The local bus fare of $2.20 will be required.

Both routes will serve two bus stop locations at Bojangles Coliseum. Upon arrival, passengers should deboard the vehicle at the appropriate bus stop.

Stop 1: Passengers receiving their first vaccine shot

Stop 2: Passengers receiving their second vaccine shot

For questions or concerns, community members can speak to CATS Customer Service at 704-336-7433(RIDE).

If anyone is interested in being a vaccine site send info to Kimberly Scales. We are looking for sites that serve 65+ in black or Hispanic communities are highest priority.

Rachel from RSS – any information coming from county about when after -school or pre-school program workers will qualify as teachers and how do they “prove” it? Starting on the 24th we will open up k-12. Most of the time right now it is through attestation. That will continue as we move through the phases.

Yes, preschool workers are included as teachers and will be in the high priority group when Group 3 opens. Check the Mecklenburg County site regularly for updates and to join the waitlist in case vaccines become available.

Novant Health COVID-19 Vaccine Event, Charlotte NC

Novant Health Vaccine Event, Charlotte, NC


MECK Pre-K will begin accepting applications for the 2021-2022 school year on March 1. Stay tuned for more details.

If you know someone with a child who will turn four on or before August 31, 2021, encourage them to sign up for our 2021-2022 mailing list so they will receive a reminder when registration is open.

Queens university has a robust interfaith program. Why does being “Presbyterian” make Queens a “Pluralist” campus? Join us for a week of virtual events that showcase our deep roots in Christian tradition and our broad reach that embraces people of all faiths and world views. We’ll claim common ground, learn more about each other and together commit to serving the world to which we belong.

The attached flyer details all of the events but we want to bring special note to our keynote talk on February 15th at 7 pm featuring Sharon Risher. Ms Risher lost her mother and other loved ones in the Charleston shooting and has written beautifully about forgiveness and hope. REGISTER HERE!


Neighborhood Matching Grants is a city program that strengthens neighborhood connections and helps neighborhoods make important improvements. For example, Alexandria Brown, a high school resident of Grier Heights, realized that many in her neighborhood did not have access to food stores. Only 56% of residents live within a half mile of grocery store and 46% rely on food assistance. With the support of a neighborhood matching grant, Alexandria researched and then installed the first of three Little Free Pantries in her neighborhood, improving the lives of her entire community.

The next Neighborhood Matching Grant Pre-Application Workshop will be Feb. 16 at noon. This session will help you think through project ideas, provide instruction for completing the online application, and tell you what to expect during the application and project implementation processes.

Want to build a pocket park? Install a little free pantry? Put in a neighborhood welcome sign? Your neighborhood may qualify for up to $25,000 in our Neighborhood Matching Grant (NMG) program. Attendance at a workshop is required prior to applying for a grant. This workshop will take place via Zoom. REGISTER HERE! For more information, contact Jackie Clare at


Keep Charlotte Beautiful $500 Micro Grant -Applications due March 15th

Have an idea for a beautification project in your community? Keep Charlotte Beautiful (KCB) is currently accepting applications for a unique microgrant opportunity. These competitive $500 grants are open to neighborhoods, businesses, nonprofits, schools, and individuals citywide. Projects must be visible to the community, be of sound and sustainable design, and fall within the four tenets of KCB: litter prevention, waste reduction and recycling, beautification, and community greening.

Start an application here. Applications are due by March 15.


$500 COVID-19 Art Grants "Trust the Vaccine"

Mini-grants of $500 are available to create art and multilingual messaging that inspire trust in the COVID-19 vaccine. Messages in foreign language are encouraged. Your art must include a tagline expressing the importance of vaccinations. Your art will support a public vaccination campaign in partnership with the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Submissions in all languages are welcome. We are especially seeking submissions in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, French, Chinese, Arabic, Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Russian, Chin, Nepali, and Burmese. Visual arts like graphic design, photos, paintings, and drawings are acceptable. All submissions must be original works of art. Artists must be based in Charlotte. Draft designs/sketches are due on February 21. SUBMIT YOUR DESIGN HERE!


Do you have a program that helps after school youth? We've launched our Request For Proposal (RFP) process for funding eligible Out-of-School Time (OST) organizations serving youth for the 2021-2022 school year (Sept-Aug). Organizations may apply for this ONE-year RFP to receive up to $1,200 per eligible youth up to a maximum of $200,000 per organization. Due to current economic uncertainty, organizations will also detail within their proposal how they would operate if funding were reduced to a maximum of $150,000 or $100,000. Proposals are due February 15 by 2 p.m.


Need Help Paying Your Water Bill? Charlotte Water Pandemic Assistance

There are resources to help customers pay their water bills but customers should act fast because funding is limited and disconnections will resume later this year. RAMP CLT can provide funding. To apply for funding through the program, visit and complete the utility assistance application.

Crisis Assistance Ministry provides curbside utility assistance for Mecklenburg County residents. For more information, call (704) 371-3001, visit, or in person at Crisis Assistance Ministry at 500-A Spratt St. Charlotte, NC 28206.

Common Wealth Charlotte, a local nonprofit organization, offers 0% interest loans of up to $300 to qualified Charlotte Water customers to avoid service disconnection. The Common Wealth COVID-19 Loan has a six-month term of repayment after a three-month no payment grace period. If interested, Text CLTWater to 474747 and complete the request form.

To make a payment anytime, go online at or download the CLT+ app. You may also make a payment at 7-11, CVS, Family Dollar, or ACE Cash Express. If you have any questions, please contact 311 (or 704-336-7600)


Struggling to Pay Bills? A List of Resources to Help

  1. Call 211 – The operators are trained to help identify which resources you’re eligible for

  2. Crisis Assistance. Call them at 704.371.3001, ext 0 and explain your situation. If they cannot help, they are usually able to make suggestions

  3. RAMP CLT: COVID-19 Emergency Housing & Utility Assistance Applications Reopen. Applications for rental, mortgage, and utility assistance have reopened. If you need help paying these bills because of a COVID-19 hardship, submit your application at

  4. Meck Better Together

  5. Atrium Community Resource Hub


Digital Navigators is a partnership between 311 and Digital Charlotte that connects Mecklenburg County residents with digital inclusion resources. Charlotte residents can now call 311 to receive support with signing up for affordable home broadband internet service, purchasing affordable technology, basic device and connectivity issues, and learning new digital skills. Learn More!


Donate Your Old Laptops! Todd Peterson 704-340-7996

Not an org, just a guy doing good work. Folks drop off old laptops and he fixes them up and gives them away. Gave 700 away last year. They all come with cameras, zoom, etc. He has hundreds ready to go and he has given many away to organizations on this call. He could use financial donations and connections to people who need laptops. If you want to make monetary donation, go to The organization is giving all donations to him.


Prayer for Nonprofit Leaders

From Rachel Berenblatt , The Velveteen Rabbi

Things I cannot fix, an incomplete list:

armed militias. Global pandemic.

The grief of staying apart and unbearable yearning.

Rage at insurrectionists and anti-maskers.

Things I can fix: lunch for my child.

This winter stew, meat from the freezer

and dried mushrooms plumping in hot broth.

Warm speckled rye dough pliant beneath my hands.

Prayer for you this week: We pray that you will assign to yourself human-sized things to fix. Focus on the things that are doable and know that all of us working together make a big difference. We appreciate you and we’re praying for you.


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