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!
OPENING PRAYER (from the Baha’i Tradition)
O Thou compassionate Lord, Thou Who art generous and able! We are servants of Thine sheltered beneath Thy providence. Cast Thy glance of favor upon us. Give light to our eyes, hearing to our ears, and understanding and love to our hearts. Render our souls joyous and happy through Thy glad tidings. O Lord! Point out to us the pathway of Thy kingdom and resuscitate all of us through the breaths of the Holy Spirit. Bestow upon us life everlasting and confer upon us never-ending honor. Unify mankind and illumine the world of humanity. May we all follow Thy pathway, long for Thy good pleasure and seek the mysteries of Thy kingdom. O God! Unite us and connect our hearts with Thy indissoluble bond. Verily, Thou art the Giver, Thou art the Kind One and Thou art the Almighty.
CENSUS FROM KIM BAGBY AT MECKCOUNTS:
Census response to COVID-19: The Census, the count of people living in the United States that happens every 10 years, is underway. The results determine the number of seats in the House of Representatives, federal funding decisions and more.
The usual promotion of this effort has been revised due to COVID-19 closures and distancing guidelines which have meant suspending door to door visits and business promotions. The Census questionnaire officially began April 1 and will continue through October 21st. The Census can be completed using mail, digitally at https://my2020census.gov/or by phone at 844-330-2020.
As of this date, NC is lagging behind other states (38thout of 50) in responses and those areas with the largest minority populations have the lowest response rates. Where more than 37.5 percent of the population is minority, the response rate is lagging by 4.3 points. Areas with high percentages of foreign born people, however, have the highest rates of response which is counter to the research that was done prior to the census process.
Wake County believes it is the county with the largest population based on data from March that shows their population grew 1.9 percent between July 2018 and 2019. Wake is using that data point to promote the Census to their population, asking residents to complete the form to validate the March data.
Mecklenburg’s response rate has improved from 2010 but there remain several neighborhoods and districts that need to be focused on for a better response rate.
In Mecklenburg County, our rate increased from 47.5 percent to last week to 49.7 percent this week.
The following are zip code clusters with low performance:
28105: Providence Estates East
28206: Lockwood/Tryon Hills
28208: Toddville Road
28210: Starmount Forest
28211: Barclay Downs
28212: East Forest, N. Sharon Amity/Reddman Rd
28213: College Downs, Hampshire Hills, Hidden Valley
28215: Oak Forest, Eastland/Wilora Lake
28216 & 28269: Northlake
28217: Montclaire South
28262: Harris-Houston, University City
28278 & 28214: Dixie Berryhill
28202: First Ward/Fourth Ward
If you have constituents, clients, or contacts in these neighborhoods, please reach out and ask them to continue spreading the message about the importance of completing the Census questionnaire.
MeckCounts asks that agencies support the Census work by including Census information in their work with the public. Ways to support the census include:
Add https://2020census.gov/to your website homepage, your newsletter, and your other communication tools
Host the census link (above) on your social media page and use their social media tools to promote the count.
Include the Census fact sheet in your food boxes, aid boxes and other hand outs
Become a Census partner and use the outreach tools available. Join the webinar to learn more.
Ask businesses to put posters up in their windows, even though they have closed. Post yard signs and invite others to do so as well. Include coloring books in your handouts to families.
Reach out to Kim Bagby, <Kim.Bagby@mecklenburgcountync.gov> for more ideas or to get materials:704-615-1387.
For local resources: www.Meckcounts2020.com
To get ideas on how your faith community can support the Census, see this site put together in New York but applicable nataionally. For an example of how you can incorporate the Census link on your homepage, see Jewish Federation’s COVID-19 site.
NEEDS AND DONATIONS
Need continues to be widespread, including Urban ministry, Galilee, Dilworth Soup kitchen and others.
Fran Cook-Mahood says she has a resource for homemade masks.
MeckMIN — Awards Breakfast – May 27 at 7:30 a.m. on Facebook Live (the video will also be available later if you are not an early bird!)
At the annual MeckMIN Awards Breakfast, we’ll be honoring people and groups who serve as leaders and bridge-builders for the whole community. Former Mayor Jennifer Roberts will also offer a tribute to EVERYONE who’s making a difference in this time of crisis. It will be an inspiring and uplifting event, and we hope you’ll come.
This is also the biggest MeckMIN fundraiser of the year so, if you are appreciating the work we’re doing right now, your financial support will be a BIG HELP in allowing us to continue.
Individual ticket purchase form: https://www.meckmin.org/event/2020-community-leader-awards-breakfast/
Table sponsorship purchase form: https://www.meckmin.org/event/2020-community-leader-awards-breakfast-sponsor-a-table/
Donation of clamshells, masks and sandwiches have been essential. Please continue to donate.
To sign people up for sandwiches and see the sandwich guidelines visit https://www.urbanministrycenter.org/helping-the-homeless/ways-you-can-help/donate/our-wishlist/
They are focusing on what the long-term vision of UMC is in the world where COVID-19 is a chronic challenge. In the past they have responded to greater need with increased density in the shelters. That is not recommended anymore because of the risk of infection. Please pray for them as they discern the best paths for the future.
Refugee Support Services: Continuing to serve lunches and dinner: dinner between 5-6pm Tuesday, lunches on Wed and Thursdays from 11:30am-12:30pm. Serving in the back of Galilee Ministries and continuing to work with the gleaners at Society of St. Andrews for fresh vegetables. Eggs are coming from a farm in Salisbury. The hand truck donation and egg crates have been valuable. They are also providing education packets with food and hosting story time with kids via zoom. To help,
Donate more egg crates on Wednesdays at 9 am behind Galilee Ministries of East Charlotte, Galilee Center, 3601 Central Ave
Augment their food boxes with other things. Use their signup geniusto volunteer to donate.
Volunteer to distribute food using their sign up genius.
Galilee Ministries: Loaves and Fishes and Refugee Support Services are working out of their parking lot. They have gone from serving 120 meals a week to 360 a week and they anticipate serving 600/week soon. Their limiting factor is money. Their volunteers are food service workers who are unemployed right now so they already understand food safety practices. Meals are served Tuesday evenings from 5-6 and W and Thursdays from 11:30 -12:30 with drive up service. To donate, go to https://galilee.dionc.org/
Dilworth soup kitchen: They received a covid-19 grant which allowed for expansion of their services. They now serve to-go lunches on Mondays and Fridays with some guests driving up and some walking up. What is leftover goes to Urban Ministry Center. They have also partnered with some restaurants and caterers like On the Block and Sonny’s BBQ to provide meals to hospital staff. They are looking to establish relationships with other restaurants but are wary of pizza because of its communal nature though perhaps it can be packaged individually. Suggestions for additional restaurants included putting a question out on the Charlotte Takeout and Delivery Facebook pageand reaching out to QC Catering.
Migrant Assistance Project: they are working closely with OurBridge which is serving 5000 meals/week. They really need hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes and disinfectant.
The Lionel Lee Center for Wellness. They serve primarily independent seniors who are isolated by the stay at home order. They need canned food, hot cereal, sanitizing products and wipes, etc. Contact Sonja Lee to coordinate the donation: ReverendLee@ymail.com; 704-719-0848 and www.LLCWellness.org
Loaves and Fishes: They are offering 20 mobile locations and they served 3500 individuals last week. With mobile locations, they can serve up to 6000 or 7000 people but each has to have a referral. Each guest receives a non-perishable food box supplemented by perishable supplies from Second Harvest. Annual limit on visits to L&F has just been increased from 8 to 12 due to the Covid19 crisis.
Referrals can come from someone in the faith community, education community, a non-profit professional, a medical professional or a government agency. HR departments can also refer their own employees following a lay off or work hiatus. Email firstname.lastname@example.org you need training on making referrals. You must complete a confidentiality agreement, video and a 60 minute training.
PRAYER FOR NONPROFIT LEADERS – Sally Herlong
Days Inn: Two days ago Days Inn evicted a number of residents and did not provide immediate refunds. Glencie Rhedrick and others have been assisting them both with direct needs and with advocacy on their behalf. Legal Aid is helping in such cases but is currently overwhelmed.
Many of the families have children ranging in age from infancy to middle school. It is believed that the eviction order was rescinded and the people are able to stay, but the situation remains fluid. When we know more about the needs of these families, we will communicate with this group.
County letter and shelter requests: There was call today (at the same time as this call) to talk about the next steps in response to the four-point plan we submitted to them. On the call was Liz Clasen-Kelly, Jasmine Sherman, Jay Leach, Dena Diorio, Anthony Trotman, Gibbie Harris and Stacy Lowrey.
1. They are not forbidding law enforcement from breaking up tent encampments, but they are discouraging such action. We have NOT heard of any recent efforts by law enforcement to break up encampments.
2. Additional sanitary stations have been put out at encampments and more are being added, with the locations based on advice from Urban Ministry and grassroots groups like Charlotte Rise, Block Love, and the Watchmen who have on-going trusting relationships with the people in the encampments.
Urban Ministries will be managing these, though they were reluctant to do so because they are maxed out and felt it was not their work to do. But they compromised with the County in order to see the stations get put in place.
3. The County continues to resist our plan for additional hotel rooms and placing high-risk unsheltered neighbors (that is, unsheltered people who are at high risk if they contract Covid19 according to the CDC) in them. They feel that the concentration of high-risk people will lead to problems, They prefer to put those who are currently in shelters into the hotel rooms and then put the unsheltered in the now available shelters. CDC guidelines suggest that the proposal to put high risk neighbors in hotels is a better strategy and it is a strategy that has been implemented in other cities. The call finished at an impasse and Liz Clasen-Kelly has 24 hours to respond to the County with a revised proposal that meets the County’s concerns.
There is no ask, right now, to our group support this effort in a particular way. Stay alert, though, as LeDayne will communicate with us if that changes.
It is important to be aware that when the County says that homeless people have not tested positive so far, the context is that the homeless people are not being tested unless they are symptomatic. Nationally, when asymptomatic unsheltered people ARE tested, up to a third are actually infected with the virus.
4. We are hearing NO complaints about evictions from County managed hotels. Evictions from other hotels remain a huge issue.
Feel free to invite others to join these weekly calls. The reason for the new link each week is to prevent zoom bombing but not to keep people off the call.
As of 4/23, Ollie’s in Matthews had 750 ML bottles of hand sanitizer available.
Closing Meditation (as we move toward Ramadan) —
He who draws close to Me a hand’s span, I will draw close to him an arm’s length. And whoever draws near Me an arm’s length, I will draw near him a fathom’s length. And whoever comes to Me walking, I will go to him running.