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Feb 18, 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:


February:


March:

April:

 

1. MeckMIN Updates



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

Where: Zoom REGISTER HERE!

When: February 23, at 7 PM

Contacts: LeDayne McLeese Polaski, Executive Director; ledayne@meckmin.org; 704-965-9241 , Kendal P. Mobley, Th.D., Associate Professor of Religion, Spiritual Life Center Coordinator, Johnson C. Smith University, kmobley@jcsu.edu; (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.

CLICK HERE 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 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 ledayne@meckmin.org.


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 ledayne@meckmin.org 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.

 

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

 


Save the Date! Wednesday, April 7, 8:00 a.m. The MeckMIN Community Leader Awards Breakfast will be held virtually on Wednesday, April 7at 8:00am. This is a very special event where we honor inspiring local leaders and organizations by presenting The Sydnor Thompson, Jr. Community Leader award and The Bridge Builder Award. Tickets will be available to purchase soon.

MeckMIN 2021 Community Leader Awards Breakfast

BECOME A SPONSOR: In addition to honoring inspiring local leaders, the breakfast is the biggest MeckMIN fundraiser of the year. Individuals, groups, congregations, and businesses who choose to sponsor the breakfast are supporting all the work we do all year to foster understanding, compassion and justice.


Sponsorships start at just $250 for a half “table” with four tickets to the virtual event! You can also host a full table for $500, be a sustaining sponsor for $1,000, underwrite one of the awards for $3,000, or be the presenting sponsor for $5,000.


 

2. Tent City Updates : How to Help our Displaced Neighbors


Tent City residents are being assisted in the County-mandated transition to shelter by a number of non-profits that are coordinating together. The list below is not comprehensive but represents many of those who have been updating us and who are working with one another. Please see our web site for a list with key contact people, emails, and phone numbers


Representatives from some of these groups updated us on what they were seeing and understanding. Several of the speakers emphasized that they had no more warning than the rest of us didabout the displacement. Due to the very tight time frame, they are still assessing what the people being displaced are going to need. They asked us to be patient and to check back in for updates.


Kass Ottley, (704)576-0010, seekingjusticeclt@gmail.com

They are seeing a number of people who are concerned about their belongings because they can only bring two bags and they don’t know what will happen to their tents and sleeping bags etc. They have some doubt that they will get a placement in housing after the 90 day emergency shelter expires. Seeking Justice has been handing out bins which are a bit more spacious. When Kass left last night they didn’t need more but they have a bunch on standby. There are a number of residents who have concerns about the rules being handed out around the temporary shelter as well. Some may have diabetes for example and are unsure whether the box lunches will be adequate. There are other concerns as well. SeekingJusticeCLT is working to get hotel rooms for those folks. SeekingJusticeCLT could use financial support for this effort. They should have more complete numbers on how many hotel rooms are needed by tomorrow and will post updates on Kass’s Facebook page.


There is a ton of misinformation being distributed. Please make an effort to get correct information by reaching out directly to organizations. Don’t dump donations at tent city right now. There is a ton of trash and rodents as a result. ReVamp is at the encampment working to help with the transition.


Dr. Blanche Penn, blanche10penn@gmail.com, 704.890.4101

They are working to ensure that the residents can get the services they need. They are trying to ensure that everything is being done decently and in order. Agree that there is a lot of misinformation.


Josh Bridges, usk@universitysoupkitchen,org, (980) 263-9348

Dr. Penn wanted to lift up the work of University Soup Kitchen as Josh could not be on the call. They are there every day. They feed people and HAVE been feeding people for a long time and have a system. They are always looking for volunteers: Sign Up Here!


They are providing meals for those who are transitioning today. They may need volunteer help. Reach out to www.leahshopesanddreams.org to find out if you can help.



  1. They had a lot of people go into quarantine from the men’s shelter but as of last Friday all completed quarantine safely and now are at a hotel.

  2. They do not yet know what space they will need for recently displaced neighbors. They have 36-40 beds available and are bringing 20 extra beds through a room at the inn church uptown. Folks will be entering those spaces this coming weekend (tonight through Sunday) That will open up additional beds at overflow.

  3. Roof Above is assisting the County to ensure that all get the right information about where to go and doing rapid testing for covid if desired (not a requirement.) They are expecting all tent city residents to be relocated by Friday evening. Flyers are being passed out with the rules from the County about what is expected in the motels/hotels. Ashley will try to get a copy that can be shared with the minutes in response to concern about the rules. (See attached.) While Roof Above’s name is on the flyer, the rules are from The County. The County will be assisting with meals and wrap around services, but Roof Above and others are still looking to see what the gaps might be.

  4. Roof Above does not currently need physical donations but stay tuned because something may pop up soon. Financial donations are welcome. If there are volunteer opportunities you can find them on the website along with wish list items if they are needed. To sign up to bring meals to the new hotel, go here: https://www.signupgenius.com/tabs/43070da07a1cbeec24-tryonrelocation

  5. Folks in encampment are the priority for the County hotel over those with needs outside of the encampment. Roof Above has other hotels for those not in the encampment.

  6. The focus is currently on the most visible section around college street but the plan is to move everyone.

  7. Carolina Business Alliance, Uday Vedre, vedre_uday@hotmail.com shared that they might be able to help Roof Above secure additional hotel rooms.


General questions and information about the relocation:


  • There is not clarity around pets and the hotels. Service animals are allowed, some indication that pets that were present at tent city will be allowed but not others.

  • Concern was raised about those with mental health or substance abuse issues – where will they go and what will happen with them as the rules don’t allow for these issues. Ashley said that she wasn’t sure if it was a one-chance rule where if you broke it you were out but she said that the Health dept. was providing wrap around services to help folks get into rehab and get what they needed before they enter a hotel. The hotels are drug-free environments.

  • List of Orgs: A list of orgs that have been working at the site is under development. It will be shared as it is being finalized.

  • Press conference: Robin Sands shared a link to the press conference from health department immediately before the call. They confirmed that bins rather than bags could be used and they said service animals were welcome.

  • Question about what will happen after the 90 days: There was little consensus on what will happen afterwards. Roof Above said they anticipate the 90 days being extended but there was not yet a plan in place for what to do after the temporary order expires, whenever that is. There was general concern that a plan should be thought through for what happens after.

  • People in tent city over 65+ have been offered vaccines.

  • Glencie Rhedrick asked whether there was a need for storage spaces for residents and Lucia Coppola of ReVampCLT said that she thought Hearts Beat as One was managing that. Stephen Cheyney has a lead. scheyney@uncc.edu



General question: Which groups on this call have 501c3 status?

If you are interested in providing a substantial gift ($250 or more) to an organization doing good work without 501c3 status and that is important to you, reach out to LeDayne who may be able to make MeckMIN a pass-through for your donation.


3. Covid Vaccine Resources - Support the Vaccine Effort!


Host a Vaccination Clinic for your Community:

Mecklenburg Public Health has created a website where groups can sign up to co-host a community-based vaccine clinic. Your clients and communities trust you and hosting a vaccination clinic is a great way to ensure that those that you serve do not miss out on this essential health measure.


Share Vaccination Information:

Nonprofits are trusted messengers, and many North Carolinians are more likely to take important public health actions if the message comes from a familiar nonprofit organization rather than a government official. Your nonprofit can make a big difference in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic by spreading information about the availability, safety, and importance of vaccines.


On Wednesday, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced that North Carolina will be opening vaccines to educators, school personnel, and child care workers beginning on February 24. Right now, North Carolina is vaccinating health care workers, long-term care staff and residents, and people 65 and older.


DHHS tools that can help nonprofits spread the word about vaccines include:

  • An online Find My Group tool to help North Carolinians know when they will be eligible to get their vaccine.

  • A Find My Spot search tool to help North Carolinians locate vaccine providers near where they live and work.

  • A newly expanded COVID-19 vaccine help center that is available by phone at 888-675-4567 on Mondays-Fridays from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. and on weekends from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. The help center provides support in English, Spanish, and TTY. Callers can get help with general COVID-19 vaccine questions, information on eligibility groups, clinical questions about the vaccine, how to find vaccine locations, and transportation services.

  • An updated COVID-19 vaccine communications toolkit with ready-made materials to provide clear and accurate information about the safe and effective vaccines.

Vaccination Appointments: Mecklenburg County Public Health (MCPH) continues to work hard to provide vaccine appointments for eligible community members, which currently includes:

  • Group 1: healthcare workers with current in-person patient contact and long-term care facility staff and residents. Includes clinical staff, administrative and support staff, home health workers, community health workers, environmental services (cleaning) staff, food services staff, medical caregivers, medical interpreters, pharmacists, etc. Click here for more information

  • Group 2 (persons ages 65 and older) : MCPH currently still has a limited number of appointments available in the next several days for Groups 1 and Groups 2. Please share this information with eligible Group 1 and Group 2 individuals!


How to Make an Appointment for the COVID-19 Vaccine with MCPH:


  • Phone: Call the MCPH COVID Hotline at 980-314-9400 (Option 3 English/Option 8 Spanish)

  • Online:Appointments may still be available online for Group 1 and Group 2 by using the following link: https://book.appointment-plus.com/83g1hcpv/#/


This link can also be accessed through our COVID-19 Vaccine Website at mecknc.gov/COVID-19.


If no appointments are available online, eligible Group 1 or Group 2 residents should do one of the following:



Join the Waitlist: We encourage anyone who is eligible and unable to make an appointment to join MCPH’s COVID-19 Vaccine waitlist and we will contact them as soon as possible about an appointment.


4. Resources for Those Struggling to Pay Bills


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

  2. 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 rampclt.com.

  3. You can call Crisis Assistance at 704-371-3001, ext 0 and explain your situation. If they cannot help, they are usually able to make suggestions.

  4. Meck Better Together LOTS of options listed at this website: https://www.mecknc.gov/COVID-19/Pages/Meck-Better-Together.aspx

  5. Atrium Community Resource Hub lists multiple places that might be able to help: https://www.atriumhealthcommunityresourcehub.org

 

5. Grants


Capital Grants for Historic Houses of Worship: National Fund for Sacred Places

The National Fund for Sacred Places, a program of Partners for Sacred Places in collaboration with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, provides support to community-serving congregations to aid in the stewardship of their historic facilities. The first and only program of its kind, the Fund offers the following types of support:


  1. Grants for the planning and execution of urgent capital projects at historic churches that are valued for their cultural importance as well as their role in providing human services, strengthening communities, and revitalizing neighborhoods;

  2. Training, capacity-building, and technical assistance to ensure that grant-funded projects are successfully planned and implemented.

Projects must be able to raise matching funds at a 1:1 rate for grants of $50,000 to $100,000; grants from $100,001 to $250,000 require matching funds of 2:1. Letters of intent must be submitted by March 15, 2021; full applications will be due July 14, 2021. Detailed application guidelines are available on the Fund's website.


The Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Foundation (CMCF) is a permanent endowment at Foundation For The Carolinas that envisions a community where every resident is afforded the opportunity to be well educated, safely housed, meaningfully employed and actively engaged in community decisions. Further, CMCF believes that the preservation and protection of our natural resources and environmentally conscious decision-making are vital to maintain our community’s quality of life. The grant cycle for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Foundation’s Children and Youth Grants Program opens on February 26, and closes on April 2. Award notifications will be sent out mid-June. As part of its grantmaking, the Children and Youth Committee is dedicated to fostering a landscape of economic opportunity for all children. Funding priority will be given to programs which encourage economic opportunity or upward mobility for children in our county. Please see the grant application for additional information. The Foundation typically awards grants between $10,000-$50,000 to eligible organizations. However, actual award amounts will be determined based on merit of the project and available funds.

 

6.Community Resources


Need interns? Since 1986, the Mayor’s Youth Employment Program (MYEP) has worked to prepare Charlotte’s youth for future employment. This year celebrates 35 years of providing meaningful work experience and building social capital for students.


Help MYEP serve the nearly 1,000 eligible high school (ages 16-18) participants with work experience by being a Host Employer!

Participants explore careers, hone skills, and gain exposure to models of professionalism, creating pathways to attainable career goals. As youth achieve, our community is strengthened. Click here for a guide on the Host Employer process - the deadline to apply is March 15.


 
QC Family Tree Are the children okay
 

Fire By Night Conversations: What does home mean in Charlotte? Live stories & dialogue centered around faith, liberation, and community. REGISTER HERE!






Pastor Scam: FYI, there is a scam where folks are using pastors’ names to ask for gift cards. This is a scam – double check the email address to ensure the veracity if you get a similar email from a familiar pastor.

 

Clergy Vestments Available: A local pastor planning to retire has clergy vestments to donate, mostly chasubles & stoles. If you’re interested, let us know and we’ll connect you.

 

7. Nonprofit Updates and Volunteer Needs


Still working with people who are getting evicted. Getting online to talk about that in a few hours. There are others who are being evicted. We will share more of an update next time.


Kass Ottley, (704)576-0010, seekingjusticeclt@gmail.com


We have been going around nightly and feeding folks from tent to tent. Folks are worried about leaving tent city. We meet nightly at 6:30 at 901 S Tryon. We roll through and bring folks what they need. I post the needs daily and we buy or home cook meals and go out feeding people. If you are on the page you can see the needs and step up.


Lucia Coppola, coppolaluciajames@gmail.com ,704-918-0498


We have families that are in unstable situations and pay for a hotel for a night. We could use your financial donations to help us help them.


CBA can help organizations looking for mask donations. Reach out to him if you need any.


Sonja Lee, Sonja Lee ready4glory@yahoo.com


They are looking to fund hotel rooms for transgender women. Financial support for this effort is welcomed. Donations can be made on their website www.LLCWellness.org.

They have two clients, both trans women of color, who are in immediate need of help with basic needs, including housing. Your contributions to help would be most appreciated!



Lunches Picker-Uppers Needed - Wednesdays in March

We have partnered with Bank of America to get food to those who need it and to protect the employment of those who have been impacted by COVID restrictions. We are looking for volunteers for Wednesdays in March from 8:30am to 9:30am to pick up prepared lunches and drop them off to distribute with our COVID Relief boxes. This volunteer opportunity Requires a driver's license and access to a larger truck or SUV. There is no heavy lifting, physical labor, or close-proximity contact involved. To sign up, please email lindsaylaplante@refugeesupportservices.org with the date(s) that you are able to volunteer.


Love & Learn Snack Packers

Each week, 20-25 Love and Learn Educational Kits are distributed to L&L kids to take home with them. Snacks are included as part of these kits and we are looking for volunteers to either pick up (from us) or purchase supplies to assemble snack packs each week to go along with the kits. To sign up, please email lindsaylaplante@refugeesupportservices.org with the date(s) that you are able to volunteer.


Remote Opportunity - COVID Relief Box Data Entry

Each week, we distribute 100+ COVID Relief boxes. We track each individual who receives a box each week and we need a volunteer or two to commit 30-45 minutes each week to enter the information into our data system. To sign up, please email lindsaylaplante@refugeesupportservices.org with the weeks that you are able to volunteer.


Group Project Opportunities : If you are looking for a way to involve your larger group in our work, there are several:

  1. Wednesday COVID Relief Box donations - We have sign-up opportunities each week for groups that would like to work on gathering a large amount of specific items. Currently on the sign-up, we have the option to gather the following: 100lbs of lemons and/or limes, 100 ginger roots, and 100 rolls of paper towel. If your group is interested in gathering any (or all!) of these items, please sign up for the related slots on the sign-up list.

  2. 100 Project - We are currently trying to round up 100 fire extinguishers to add to the COVID Relief boxes. If your group would be interested in learning more about this opportunity to get involved in helping to keep our neighbors safe, please respond email lindsaylaplante@refugeesupportservices.org.

  3. Laptop Drive - We have an on-going need for used laptops. If you, a neighbor a co-worker or afriend has one to donate, or if you want to coordinate a laptop drive, please email lindsaylaplante@refugeesupportservices.org for more information. All donations are put through a rigorous and total refurbishing process by our partners E2D. At this time, they cannot accept Macbooks or netbooks.

  4. Naturalization Tutor Interest List - Last Call for Round One! We are about ready to start training for our first round of Naturalization Academy Tutors. If you have completed the Tutor Interest Form already - thanks! We will be following up with everyone by the end of this week to get that ball rolling. In the meantime, if you have not submitted a Tutor Interest Form and would like to be kept in the loop about training, now is the time to do it. Anyone interested in serving as a volunteer tutor would be required to complete tutor training before being paired with program participants.


Refugee 101 Remote. Refugee 101 is the first part of our initial onboarding process for new volunteers but is also a good refresher on what it means to be a refugee as well as statistics in refugee services. We have added sessions to the calendar through May 2021. Register for the session that works for you.


Community Presentations: If you are involved with community groups that would like to have us join one of your meetings by Zoom to present Refugee 101, please don't hesitate to let us know. Community educational opportunities are an important part of our mission and we'd love to work with your groups to help connect and strengthen our local community together. Reach out to lindsaylaplante@refugeesupportservices.org for more information.



We had a wonderful scouting for food drive and we got a ton of food and financial donations. We have on our website opportunities for volunteers to sort and pack boxes and we need volunteer drivers. We have delivered over 10K meals since April. Now delivering three days a week and we need you.



Partner Agencies: In February, CMS staff from 29 schools shopped at the McCrorey for coats and shoes for the students attending schools where they serve. This kind of coordination is made possible through Crisis Assitance Ministry’s Partner Agency Shopping Service which invites community organizations to visit by appointment and select items for distribution to the individuals and families they serve. CMS staff had an abundance of choice thanks to the many coats donated during WSOC-TV’s Steve’s Coats for Kids and shoes thanks to the donations by Rack Room Shoes and others. With help from McCrorey YMCA and Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, this partnership means 800 students in Central 1 Learning Community returned to the classroom ready to learn. If you are interested in becoming a community partner, please fill out our form.



If you or someone you know is struggling with past due utility bills, help is available right now for residents of Mecklenburg County. Applications can be received curbside and follow-up interviews are conducted by phone. The latest information on how to seek emergency rent or utility assistance is always available by tapping "Get Help" on our website. The documents you will need include:

  1. Picture ID of the person applying for financial assistance.

  2. Social Security documentation for all household members: Social Security (SS) card, documentation from the SS Administration, W2 form from an employer, paystub with a complete SS number, or W7 if applicable. If you are not registered with the SS Administration, you must provide some form of ID.

  3. Proof of household income over the past 30 days. Include all paystubs received by any household members during this period. If anyone receives unemployment, SSI, SSA, VA benefits, retirement pension, child support, disability payments, or income from any other source, you must provide verification of that income.

  4. Past due utility bills, disconnection notices, rental late notices, or eviction papers. These must be in the name of an adult who resides at that address. Rental lease to verify your residence if you are seeking rent assistance.

Eviction Update


IMPORTANT UPDATE:  President Biden and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have extended the nationwide eviction moratorium through March 31, 2021.


Tenants are not automatically covered by the order and must take action to invoke its protections.  There are two steps to the process:

  1. Read, complete, and sign the CDC’s declaration form if you meet its requirements.

  2. Deliver the signed affidavit to your landlord.


Legal Aid of North Carolina has more details and helpful information on their website.


You can also watch a September, 2020, Facebook Live discussion featuring attorney Isaac Sturgill that explains the original order, which is still in place today.


Volunteer Opportunities: Currently, a limited number of volunteer opportunities are available to ensure CDC guidelines can be met while achieving the goal of preventing homelessness and preserving dignity for our most vulnerable neighbors.


Willing folks are needed to help inspect and prepare donated items, receive donations at the donation door, and stock the Free Store. Appropriate COVID precautions are in place for these options beginning March 2nd


Prayer for NonProfit Leaders

May you hear clearly what you are called to do and to be, today, tomorrow, and this week. And may you have the strength and courage to do it. May you hear just as clearly what is NOT yours to do and to be, and may you have the strength and courage to leave those things to others, or even to leave them undone.


We are grateful for you and we pray for you.

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