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March 31, 2022 | 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 subscribe to our newsletter.


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



 

Click Here to Access Zoom Recording:

 

In this Issue:

 

IMPORTANT DATES:


4/1: International House legal clinic reopens for new clients

4/4: International House Sunday afternoon citizen prep classes resume

4/14, 11 am: Next Non-profit Leadership meeting

4/18: TAXES DUE

4/21, 12:15 Food for Thought: The Asylum Process: A personal Story – LIVE ONLY, NO RECORDING

4/22, 4-6pm: International House Spring resource fair

4/23, 10-12: Storm Water Stream Clean Up Service Project

4/30, 6pm: Karen Gonzalez Event at St. John’s Baptist Church

5/12, 7:30 am: MeckMIN Awards Breakfast

5/19, 12:15: Food for Thought: Affordable Housing Stories

7/18: Applications due for National Fund for Sacred Places grant

8/27: Another Chance House of Refuge 5K run, “Racing Through ReEntry”.


 

Opening Reflection


Read by Kate Dennstaedt

Barking to the Choir - The Power of Radical Kinship by Fr Gregory Boyle


Taken from page 153 of this book

"In a recent magazine Q and A, Whoopi Goldberg was asked to name the living person she most admired. "Pope Francis," she responded. "Yeah." she added "...he's goin' with the original program." When I mention this in my talks, the crowd always responds the same way: with laughter and cheers. It's because people know what the "original program" is. They both recognize it and connect to it. They get it.


People know that the "original program" is about living the gospel with joy and always being mindful of the poor. They know it is an invitation to the margins, knowing that if we stand there, the margins get erased. It's not about taking the right stand on issues but about standing in the right place, with the excluded and the demonized.


When Francis was elected pope he was told "Don't forget the poor. And indeed he hasn't."

 

1. MeckMIN Updates


LIAISONS

We would love to have liaisons to congregations in the network. We will send you an occasional email which the liaison ensures gets to the right person in leadership at their home congregation. Reach out to Anna@meckmin.org to find out if you have a liaison already or to volunteer.


BOOK SORTING


This past Saturday we had a successful volunteer event with middle and high school youth. Together over 20 young people sorted 600 books that will be distributed to kids who otherwise might not have a book of their own.


STORM WATER STREAM CLEAN UP Service Project |








Saturday, April 23 | 10 am - 12 pm

Join us on Saturday, April 23 for a two-hour service project at Sugar Creek Pineville - 9840 Pineville Matthews Rd. We will be cleaning both the stream and roadway. Storm Water services will provide waders (assorted sizes), trash bags, gloves, & little pickers.







AWARDS BREAKFAST



The Date: Thursday May 12th at 7:30 am in person at Covenant Presbyterian (fingers crossed).

This is the biggest MeckMIN fundraiser of the year. If the work that MeckMIN is doing matters to you, please sponsor a table or buy individual tickets.

  • INDIVIDUAL TICKETS

This year's breakfast will be held on Thursday, May 12 at 7:30 AM at Covenant Presbyterian Church. This is our biggest fundraiser of the year, and your paid ticket supports our work all year to develop understanding, compassionate relationships between people of all faiths, relationships which make possible a robust, coordinated, and effective response to the needs of our community. That said, your attendance means more to us than your gift, and we do understand that many of us are struggling with our finances, so we offer tickets on a sliding scale. We hope you'll buy a ticket today and plan to join us.

  • SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

We invite you to join us as an event sponsor. For as little as $250, you as an individual, congregation, business, or fellow nonprofit can be recognized for supporting our work to foster interfaith cooperation, promote racial and ethnic understanding and address social needs in Mecklenburg County. For a full list of sponsorship levels and benefits, please visit our sponsorship page.





FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

We invite you to join us for the last two remaining Food for Thought events before our summer break on Zoom from from 12:15 to 1:15 PM.

  • April 21 – Asylum Process Out of safety concerns this session will not be recorded but will be live only for safety of the speaker. This is the second part of our two-part series about the realities of immigration. We will hear the personal story of one asylum seeker living in our community and also from the faith community supporting her.

  • May 19 – Affordable Housing Stories We will hear the stories of those who live in some of the affordable housing highlighted in an earlier Food for Thought event.




IN OUR OWN BACKYARD (IOOBY) | June 23-26 | Applications Open


SAVE THE DATE: JUNE 23-26, 2022

We will once again host our acclaimed interfaith youth camp.

Every year we hold our interfaith summer camp experience for high-school aged youth in Mecklenburg County. The purpose of the camp is to bring youth together from different faiths, races, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds to learn more about each other’s faith traditions and to serve area residents in need. Participants visit various social agencies, visit different houses of faith for worship services and develop their own interfaith service on the last evening of the program. PLEASE SHARE WITH ANY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT YOU THINK MIGHT BE INTERESTED.



Please help us spread the word by sharing the webpage on your social media accounts and within your personal networks



MINUTE TAKER FOR NEXT MEETING April 14th

Our regular minute taker will be out of town. Please let ledayne@meckmin.org know if you would be willing to take minutes at this next meeting.


TAX INFORMATION

Tax season is here and low- to moderate-income families are at risk of missing out on temporarily expanded tax credits during this 2021 tax filing season. Below are some opportunities you should not miss:

o The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a tax credit available to workers and families.

o The Child Tax Credit (CTC) provides financial support to families with children. Last year’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) expanded and improved the child tax credit in three important ways:

1. It increased the amount of the tax credit from $2,000 per child to $3,600 for children under the age of six and $3,000 for children ages 6-17.

2. It made the credit fully refundable, providing financial assistance to many low-income families who don’t normally pay income taxes.

3. It provided advance payments of the credit for the final six months of 2021, providing immediate cash assistance to millions of families in the form of monthly checks.

Most families with children received half of their child tax credit as monthly payments during the second half of 2021, thanks largely to nonprofits helping these families provide the necessary information to the Internal Revenue Service.


With a bit more help from nonprofits, many families can learn how to claim the second half of their child tax credit payments. Families are due to receive the remainder of their child tax credits as refunds when they file their 2021 federal income taxes.


Your nonprofit can do three things to help families in your community access the full child tax credit:

1. Encourage families to file their federal taxes by April 18. This is particularly important for families that normally don’t file tax returns because their income isn’t high enough to owe federal taxes.

2. Provide clear information about how to file for the child tax credit. The www.childtaxcredit.gov website has clear and accurate information you can share, including flyers, sample social media posts, and toolkits with resources for nonprofits.

3. Connect people with free tax filing assistance. To get their child tax credit, families will need to fill out their IRS Form 1040 and Schedule 8812 (the child tax credit form) correctly. NC 211 has helpful information on tax preparation assistance. Free tax assistance for people with incomes below $58,000 is available through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and United Way MyFreeTaxes.


Visit the Tax Credit Outreach Hub for County Health and Human Services Agencies to help vulnerable households access these important income supports during the 2021 tax filing season. You can also promote the IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program, to community members who might benefit.


Property tax relief for eligible seniors and people with disabilities


Property taxes are not due at this time BUT the application for relief is due by JUNE 1


North Carolina allows low-income homestead exclusions for qualifying individuals. Qualifying owners must apply with the Assessor's Office between January 1st and June 1st. If you qualify, you can receive an exclusion of the taxable value of your residence of either $25,000 or 50% (whichever is greater).


As of January 1st of the year for which the exclusion is claimed, applicants will need to meet the following requirements:

1. The applicant's name must be on the deed or title to the residence.

2. The residence must be the applicant's primary residence.

3. The applicant must be a North Carolina resident.

4. The applicant must be at least 65 years of age or totally and permanently disabled. Total and permanent disability is a disability that substantially hinders a person from obtaining gainful employment.

5. If claiming disability, the applicant must provide proof of the disability in the form of a certificate from a physician licensed to practice medicine in North Carolina or governmental agency authorized to determine qualification for disability benefits.

6. Meet the combined spousal income eligibility limit, *whether or not both spouses are on the title. The income determination is described below.

Income Determination - for low Income homestead exclusion or property tax deferral


Documentation that shows the applicant's income is required. For married applicants living with their spouse, the income from both spouses must be included on the application even though the property is not in both names.

Income from all sources must be listed on the application, with the exception of gifts or inheritances received from a spouse, lineal (direct) ancestor or lineal descendant. Examples of income includes disability payments, IRA distributions, pensions and annuities, social security benefits, capital gains, and veteran benefits. This example does not include all sources of income. More information on reporting income is included in the cover letter sent with the Tax Relief Application Packets. The packets will be made available after January 1, 2022 for the 2022 tax year.


*Annual Income Eligibility Limit is set every year by the NC Department of Revenue. The limit for this year is $31,900 for income received from all sources during the prior calendar year. This limit establishes the ceiling for the Low-Income Homestead Exclusion (option 1 above). It further establishes the ceiling for the Circuit Breaker deferral of taxes (option 3 above), where income cannot exceed 150% ($47,250 for 2022 tax year) of this limit. Please contact 980-314-4226 (4CAO) or visit us in our office if you have questions concerning how this applies to your situation.



COVID UPDATES

CDC’s New COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation Calculator

The CDC has a new calculator that you can use. This tool helps people know what to do if they have COVID-19 or have come into close contact with someone with COVID-19. People with COVID-19 who have mild symptoms or no symptoms will know how long they need to stay home away from other people (isolate). Close contacts to someone with COVID-19 will know if they need to stay home (quarantine) or take steps like getting tested and wearing a well-fitting mask.


Order (or re-order) At-Home COVID-19 Test Kits

Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 2 sets of 4 free at-⁠home tests. If you already ordered your first set, order a second today. These are free to the public


Find Free Masks (N95 Respirators) | CDC

The CDC can help you locate free N95 masks for staff or clients. This tool shows a list of pharmacies that provide free masks (N95 respirators). It does not show their current inventory. Please check with the location for availability. Need help finding free masks in the U.S.? Call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489)


Fourth Boosters:

Everyone 50 and older and certain immunocompromised people can now get a second COVID vaccine booster. Learn more atcdc.gov/coronavirus.


Update on current COVID recommendations

Mecklenburg County Health Department: Kimberly D Scales, Kimberly.Scales@mecklenburgcountync.gov

Many are asking about current COVID protocols. The county has a dedicated COVID page on their website where you can find recommendations for current conditions. At the time of this call there is low community spread and we are focused on helping people make decisions that are right for them. Gatherings are not discouraged but you should try to keep a safe distance and wear a mask if you are comfortable. If you are sick, please don’t attend gatherings. We suggest congregations maintain virtual options for those who are currently sick or those who have complicating health problems. In Mecklenburg County, 53% of people are fully vaccinated and 67% have has at least one dose. It remains important to increase the number of vaccinated individuals. Please encourage your congregants to get a vaccine. Mecklenburg County is continuing to offer testing and locations can be found on the website.


The health department is monitoring the emerging variants but is not recommending any changes in Mecklenburg at this time.


2. Non-Profit Updates



Kate Dennstaedt, Local Organizer – Charlotte, charlotte@justfaith.org, 704-412-8458

JustFaith Ministries is an effort to invite and prepare people of faith for the life-changing and world-changing call of the Gospel to help heal the world and, in so doing, experience a deeper faith, a more fulfilling life, and a community of care and vitality. They host 11 different program areas, each with several possible curricula. Each program gathers a small group together to explore resources and then talk together about how to make change. The Charlotte registration page is https://justfaith.org/jf-charlotte-registration-page/


They are Christian based but some groups are more open. In April there will be five programs beginning. Check out their website for more information.



Lauren Rogers, Volunteer and Outreach Manager at International House. lrogers@ihclt.org


Hiring opportunities

o 32 tutors for Rising Readers program this summer: Please contact Julia Bulinska at jbulinska@ihclt.org, International House’s Director of Education and Workforce Development, for application information or for more information about the Rising Readers program.

o Part-time Education assistant

o Full time Youth Education Coordinator

You can find more information about those positions in our newsletter:

· Offices reopening April 4th

· ESL and citizenship classes returning. Full information on the website

Citizenship Preparation Program: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

CYCLE 2: May 16 - June 30

Registration: April 14 - May 13

CYCLE 3: August 17 - December 1

Registration: July 4 - August 12


English as a Second Language Classes: Monday and Wednesdays from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

CYCLE 2: May 17 - June 30

Registration: April 14 - May 13

CYCLE 3: August 16 - December 1

Registration: July 4 - August 12


Spring resource fair on April 22nd from 4-6 PM. This is in partnership with the Health Department and will include vaccinations, food trucks, games, raffles and more. IHCLT also host vaccine clinics every Monday from 10-2 in the weeks leading to the resource fair.



Crystal Emerick, (704) 361-5230, crystal@bravestep.org

Brave Step is a local nonprofit that empowers adults impacted by sexual violence. Brave Step:

  • Provides personalized services that help adults impacted by sexual violence reclaim the life they deserve;

  • Fosters brave public conversations about sexual violence; and

  • Cultivates courageous changemakers.

They have programs tailored to:

Loved ones of Adult Survivors

Changemakers: Those who want to take action


They would love to work with your houses of worship or your non-profit to implement these trainings. It can be offered to your leadership or to those you serve. Please share this resource widely.




Ayesha Rahim, arahim@smartstartofmeck.org , DPIL Literacy Coordinator

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality age appropriate books to children from birth to age five, no matter their family’s income. Please share with families and help families register for site. The children enrolled will receive 1 free book in the mail every month until they turn five.


Please reach out to Ayesha and set up a Zoom, phone call or meeting to figure out how you can help this program reach more kids.




Samantha Nevins, Executive Director, samanthanevins@disability-rights.org

Disability Rights and resources is a non-profit center for independent living based in Charlotte and covering four counties (Mecklenburg, Gaston, Union and Cabarras). It is one of only 7 in NC. It is consumer controlled and cross disability which means that people within the disabled community staff it as well as use it. The goal is community integration and independent living. Reach out to learn more about what they do.



MECKLENBURG COUNTY COURT - Juvenile Justice Subcommittee


Angie Meindl Fox, Juvenile Court Liaison, 980-314-5969, 704-621-9140, Angie.MeindlFox@mecklenburgcountync.gov

The Juvenile Justice Subcommittee of Mecklenburg County Court meets every other month on the 9th floor of the Courthouse. They are currently virtual due to COVID. The mission of the JJSC is to build multidisciplinary collaborations across Juvenile Justice Systems that promote just and equitable outcomes for youth; and to educate the community about the Juvenile Justice System in order to prevent delinquency, reduce recidivism, and strengthen community and family systems. As part of the general composition of the members, we have standing members and we also have two year term community members/agencies. They are looking for someone from the faith community to serve as a representative for a two year term. The responsibilities include: to support the mission, vision and goals of JJSC; to attend all meetings or designate someone to attend in your place; have knowledge of System of Care Principles; and to participate in the voting and selection of new community members. If you have an interest in joining us, please reach out to Angie for further discussion.



HABITAT FOR HUMANITY – CLT REGION


Zach Surber, Faith Relations Manager, 980.859.5578 (office), zsurber@habitatcltregion.org

Habitat is hosting is annual volunteer appreciation event which distributes snacks is hand decorated boxes. They need help decorating those boxes. Reach out to Zach and you can pick up and drop them off as you finish them. Due date is April 18th.




Jennifer Kendrick, jakendrick@outlook.com

WHAT: Leadership Camp

WHO: rising juniors and seniors in high school selected by sponsoring Rotary ClubsALL STUDENTS who would like to attend SFTL MUST first apply online. Watch for application links

SFTL is a 4 day/3 night premier leadership experience sponsored by Rotary District 7680 with curriculum designed and facilitator training provided by a global leader in executive training, Center for Creative Leadership.


With FUN and active learning at the core, Rotarian volunteers and SFTL alumni will guide and participate with students in activities, games, small and large group dialogue, role plays, skits, and reflective time to equip our youth with tools to broaden their leadership awareness and ignite their inner capacity to help transform their local and global communities.

· Participants will…


➢ Explore the meaning of leadership

➢ discover more about themselves and relating to others

➢ develop communication and conflict resolution skills

➢ examine ethics and values in leadership

➢ create a network of service opportunities and new friends from the greater Charlotte area

· Where: Gardner Webb University, Boiling Springs, NC

· When: July 14-17, 2022

· Cost: No cost to student. Leadership Scholarship of $500 per student funded through the rotary clubs and Rotary District 7680





Louise McCrorie, Social Services Coordinator, louise@loavesandfishes.org

1. Client choice has returned to Loaves & Fishes! First Presbyterian food pantry is now open for client-choice. We also have a new client-choice program available for home delivery clients. A referral is still needed for both. Reach out to Louise McCrorie at 704-336-9548 for more information.

2. We also have access to a new program, World Central Kitchen Direct, where clients can get free restaurant-prepared meals, either pickup or delivered, from a choice of 3 Central Avenue restaurants. Program is available Monday through Friday 11-6 and client must have a cellphone and be able to receive and send texts. Again see Louise for more information.

3. VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: drivers for both Loaves & Fishes (Tuesdays, Thursday or Saturdays between about 11 and 2), and Friendship Trays (Mondays through Fridays from 10-12). Also people to pack boxes of groceries in the warehouse. See https://loavesandfishes.org/how-to-volunteer/ to sign up and for more info.

4. EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNTIIES: See https://loavesandfishes.org/about-us/employment-opportunities/ to apply and for more information. We currently have openings for the following positions:




Dr. Devonya Govan-Hunt, dgovan.hunt@charlotte.org, Office number 980-237-0122 or

980-209-0415

BCDI is sponsoring an essay contest for kids in grades K-12. They can win up to $1000. Any child can enter contest. There are topics tailored to each age group. Please encourage youth to engage.


BCDI continues to have volunteer opportunities at Windsor Park until May 27th. In addition, they are planning an event at Eastland School’s book fair to ensure culturally relevant books go out before spring break. Please reach out to Karita to learn more and get involved.





John Giampaolo, Community Engagement Specialist, 704-677-9676, jgiampaolo@alliancehealthplan.org

Alliance Health is a Managed Care Organization (MCO) serving people in North Carolina's Mecklenburg, Cumberland, Durham, Johnston, Orange, and Wake counties who are insured by Medicaid or are uninsured in need of support for mental illness, substance use disorders, and intellectual/developmental disabilities. We are in the process of convening a series of Community Conversations to help inform our larger community engagement plan. These topics are based on recurring themes we have heard regarding the need for behavioral health system and service improvements. Clearly the expertise and perspective your organization is a critical part of developing this plan. We are putting the final details together and hoping you or a designee could join us. Each session lasts 2 hours and includes 20 participants. Please refer to the attached document which outlines available sessions. Please feel to contact me if you have any questions.

Alliance Health Community Conversations 20220329
.pdf
Download PDF • 191KB


HOME2HOME FURNITURE FOR THOSE IN NEED

Earl Coggins encoggins@att.net

Home2Home, a ministry of Matthews United Methodist Church, distributes furniture to those in need. Generally able to deliver it so if you have families that need support, reach out.




As we do this work, we meet many women who are struggling to make ends meet. You've seen us ask for diapers and clothes for kids. But what the women really want is a chance to support themselves. One of the jobs many find themselves doing is cleaning homes or businesses.


Are there folks out there who are interested in hiring one of the women we assist to do housecleaning? The two women I'm currently thinking of have the following availability:

· Evenings and weekends (lives in the West Charlotte 28217 zip code area) Although willing to drive all around Charlotte for work.

· Monday through Thursday starting at 9 a.m. and Saturdays (lives in East Charlotte in the 28227 area by Independence High School). Also willing to drive all around Charlotte for work.



AMERICAN RED CROSS


Beginning April 1st, the Red Cross will launching a volunteer recruitment campaign. They are looking for folks who can help with disaster response and volunteer teams. These are volunteers who can respond, year-round to local emergencies (like home fires) as well as seasonal volunteers able to travel during hurricane and wildfire season. Contact amy.korb@redcross.org for more info!



PHW BIPOC MENTAL HEALTH GRANT OPPORTUNITY


Partners in Health and Wholeness (PHW), an initiative of the NC Council of Churches, is thrilled to announce a new funding opportunity for faith communities that are predominantly of color. This spring, BIPOC (Black & Brown, Indigenous, People of Color) faith communities are invited to apply for a special mental health grant through PHW. Many thanks to The Duke Endowment, we are able to offer this new grant opportunity of $5,000-10,000 reserved for faith communities of color towards COVID-19 mental health efforts. We plan to award 50 grants in this range, throughout the entire state. There will also be an opportunity to apply for a large grant, up to $50,000, to establish or expand a mental health resource hub in your region. Be on the lookout for more information coming soon on our website here and in the meantime, reach out to Jessica@ncchurches.org to be added to our interest list.




Bettie Jones, volunteersgalilee@gmail.com, (215) 370 - 0494

Galilee is looking for greeters, Monday through Thursday from 9-11am 11-1pm, Tuesdays

9-11, 11-1, 1-3pm. Duties include answer phone, welcoming visitors, directing visitors to where they need to go. Contact Bettie if you are interested.


 

3. General Information




ADDITIONAL FLYERS AND DOCUMENTS OF INTEREST




RamadanBasics
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Download PDF • 95KB

Outshine Hate
.pdf
Download PDF • 148KB

 


PRAYER FOR NONPROFIT LEADERS


“Love is a form of sweet labor: fierce, bloody, imperfect, and life giving—a choice we make over and over again. Love can be taught, modeled, and practiced. . . . “Revolutionary love” is the choice to enter into labor for others, for our opponents, and for ourselves in order to transform the world around us. It is not a formal code or prescription but an orientation to life that is personal and political, rooted in joy.” (Valarie Kaur, 2020, p. 310)











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