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:
MeckMIN: Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, Crisis & Compassion Video Series, Youth Interfaith Service Project
House of Faith Updates: The Church of Latter-day Saints hosts Drive Through Nativity Festival with donation drive to benefit Loaves & Fishes, The Relatives and Classroom Central! Ascension Lutheran Church to host Community Holiday Meal
Non-profit Updates: Augustine Literacy Project, Pastors for NC Children, Re-entry Partners of Mecklenburg, Refugee Support Services, Loave & Fishes, Habitat for Humanity, VoteRiders, International House
Extra Credit Grant helps pay for Virtual Schooling and Child-Care Costs during Pandemic
CMS Second Semester In-Person Instruction Deadline Extended to Nov 30th
CMS Safety: Immunizations and Health Assessments for School-Aged Children Extended to Dec 30th
Public Health Tips for Celebrating Thanksgiving Safely
Covid & Flu Guidelines for Places of Worship
Covid-19 Updates from NC Department of Health and Human Services
New NC Program to offer Covid-19 Support Services
Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services: Meck Better Together
Lead Poisoning Prevention: City of Charlotte Housing
Need help with Rent or Mortgage? RMPCLT!
Mayor’s Mentoring Alliance Awards
Click Here to Access 10/15/20 View Zoom Recording: Passcode: 6#p8@@0q
12/1, 7pm: Crisis and Compassion: MeckMIN: Making a Shidduch video premiere. Register Here
12/3, 10:30am: Augustine Literacy Project info session via Zoom. Register Here
12/3, 11am: MeckMIN Leader Meeting - *Please send written updates as this session will be dedicated to a feedback listening session on Charlotte 2040 PLAN
12/3, 7pm: Picking up the Pieces Webinar focusing on equity in education during this pandemic. Register Here
12/5, 1pm - 3pm: MeckMIN Youth mission project supporting the YWCA of Central Carolinas Families Together Program. Register Here
12/5 -12/6, 5pm - 8pm: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Drive Through Nativity Festival, 5897 Hemby Rd, Weddington, NC
12/10, 11am: MeckMIN Leader Meeting
12/10, 10:30am: Augustine Literacy Project info session via Zoom. Register Here
12/12, 11am-1pm: Community Holiday Meal boxed meal distribution at Ascension Lutheran Church
From Rev. Fran Cook-Mahood
Most Gracious God,
We gather again virtually this day, separated by life-saving distance but united in spirit and common cause. We are in a fight against COVID-19 and the ravages of disease upon our city, state, country and world. We know that the more together we are, the better and stronger we will emerge.
We pray for those who have been, who are, and who will be, affected by this coronavirus. The physical, spiritual, mental, and financial burdens are great; and, we know that not everyone is affected equally or justly. Our challenges are enormous, yet so are our opportunities.
So we give thanks for those who are working to develop a vaccine and for those who are taking care of those who are unwell, for those who are providing comfort to those who feel afraid and for those who are offering food to those who are hungry, for those who are giving shelter to those without a roof above and for those who provide for our daily needs, in spite of the risk to themselves, and for all those who are enduring difficulty, may their challenges be overcome.
We pray for the health and safety of all who are serving and for all those who are being served. We give thanks for those in leadership, federal, state, and local, who are dedicated to serving us all and securing a pathway to wellness and prosperity. We ask that the divides so starkly revealed during this pandemic - in politics, healthcare, and justice - be bridged through relationship, advocacy, and action.
We pray that a vaccine will soon be available, and that we all – US citizens and World citizens - may be healed in body, mind, and spirit. And so, in thanksgiving for all that we can be and in the living hope that you provide, we ask your blessing upon our divided yet still United States of America and world.
45th Annual Community -Wide Interfaith Thanksgiving Service| Nov 24th 6:45pm-8:00pm This year’s service will be broadcast on Facebook Live @MeckMIN followed by a Zoom reception. The Thanksgiving service promises to be a meaningful and powerful event. Hosted by Temple Beth El, the theme this year will be “The Truth of our Connectedness” and will feature Rev. Dr. Peter Wherry as the speaker. Rev. Dr. Peter Wherry is the Senior Pastor of Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC. He is the founding moderator of the United Missionary Baptist Association, which provides leadership to 70 churches in the region, with a constituency of over 40,000 people. He is also a pioneering leader of the Forward Together Movement. JOIN US as we come together in gratitude for the deep connections that abide even in this difficult season.
The Thanksgiving offering, as always, will support MeckMIN and Crisis Assistance: Crisis Assistance Donation Page: crisisassistance.org/meckmin
TEXT TO GIVE: Text MECKMIN to 91999
Crisis Assistance Donation Page: crisisassistance.org/meckmin
Transforming this event to an online platform has extended the costs for this year. We are still $750 short of our overage. Please visit our Go Fund Me Campaign to help make this online event possible:
MeckMIN’s budget is not yet sufficient to support the expanded work we are doing. If you believe these calls matter and the work of MeckMIN matters, please consider donating to support us.
On December 1 at 7 pm, Bridge Builders will premiere Crisis and Compassion, a video series documenting how diverse religious communities in our area are responding to the pandemic by working with local service providers, local government, and other faith communities to meet the needs arising from the pandemic. At the premiere event, you will see the first episode, “MeckMIN: Making a Shidduch.” After the screening, you will hear from the project team, have a chance to ask questions,make comments, and get an update on future episodes.
Youth Interfaith Service Project & YWCA Families Together Program: December 5th, 1:00pm-3:00pm, MeckMIN will host a youth interfaith service opportunity supporting the YWCA of Central Carolinas Families Together Program. The Families Together program provides safe, affordable housing and intensive support services for families with children experiencing homelessness.
How you can help:
Donate to MeckMIN to support our important work and ask your community to donate as well: TEXT TO GIVE: Text MECKMIN to 91999
The Thanksgiving offering, as always, will support MeckMIN and Crisis Assistance: Visit Crisis Assistance Donation Page: crisisassistance.org/meckmin
2. House of Faith Updates
The Church of Latter-day Saints hosts Drive -Through Nativity Festival with donation drive to benefit Loaves & Fishes, The Relatives and Classroom Central!
12/5 -12/6, 5pm - 8pm: Drive-Through Nativity Festival hosted by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , 5897 Hemby Rd, Weddington, NC . The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be transforming their traditional nativity festival into a drive-through. Experience live nativity and animals, recorded choir music from all around and an audio dramatization of “Journey to the Stable”. They will be collecting donations of cans for Loaves and Fishes, underwear and socks for The Relatives and classroom supplies for Classroom Central.
Ascension Lutheran Church and Atrium Health Anethesia Department to host Community Holiday Meal on Saturday, Dec 12 between 11am-1pm!
3. Non-Profit Updates
Augustine Literacy Project (ALP) focuses on improving the reading skills of low income students who struggle with reading. They partner with 23 schools, primarily within CMS. Join us at a Virtual Information Session to learn more about becoming a volunteer literacy tutor! Register Here!
December 3rd at 10:30am
December 10th at 10:30am
For general questions or to schedule a one-on-one information session that’s convenient for you, email ALP’s Engagement & Recruitment Manager, Helen Hope Kimbrough
The need for Augustine tutors will be even greater when schools reopen and we’d love to meet you!During these unprecedented times, we will host our 5-day training classes virtually. Jan 11-15, Jan 25-29th, Feb 8-12
Petition to cancel in-person standardized testing for high school students: Pastors for NC Children is a new organization hoping to connect faith communities to public education advocacy. Among other efforts they are circulating a petition to cancel in-person standardized testing this year for high schools. High schools are requiring students to return to school to take standardized tests or fail (20% of grade). The petition hopes to persuade the governor and federal government to provide a waiver for this year. Link to the petition is tinyurl.com/HighStakesNoTakes.
Re-Entry Partners of Mecklenburg (RPM) consists of many agencies working towards the efforts of a seamless transition for individuals who have criminal backgrounds. RPM efforts are focused around EMPLOYMENT, HOUSING, ADVOCACY, EDUCATION AND SUPPORT.
Rachel Humphries thanks everyone for their ongoing support of the work of RSS and in particular for the laundry donations. The baskets with laundry supplies and donated quarters in response to the coin shortage were distributed last week!
Delivery drivers needed for our home delivery program! There were more than 5,000 home deliveries in the last 8 months. Seeking delivery drivers on Tuesday, Thurday and Saturday. Must be 18, have a vehicle they can use for transportation, 90 minutes from start to finish.
Virtual Food Drive! During the current COVID-19 crisis, if you would like to donate food to Loaves & Fishes, you can drop off non-perishable food items at our Loaves & Fishes warehouse, located at 648 Griffith Road, Monday – Friday 8:30am – 4:00pm.A great way to help without leaving home is to shop their Amazon Wish List and have items delivered directly. They are currently packing emergency food boxes and are in great need of the following items.
Habitat of the Charlotte Region began its 1,000th home repair last week! This program is expanding. Last fiscal year they repaired about 80 homes and this year there has been a 50% increase to over 120 repairs. The program still has openings so please share that help with critical repairs is still available. The program is open to families earning 80% AMI and below and there are many openings available for Mecklenburg and southern Iredell counties.
VoteRiders helps people get ID and underlying docs like birth certificates - all services are free and we pay for the doc fees and ID fees. All referrals welcome!
On 11/21 from 9-12 International House will be distributing resources to their clients at Briarwood elementary.
4. Extra Credit Grant helps pay for Virtual Schooling and Child-Care Costs during Pandemic
Extra Credit Grant Deadline Extended to December 7th! Click here for Application: Back in Sept, the NC Dept of Revenue announced that they were accepting applications for a $335 Extra Credit Grant. The application deadline has been extended to Dec 7. The program will help families with qualifying children pay for virtual schooling and child-care costs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Taxpayers who reported at least one qualifying child (age 16 or younger) on their 2019 NC individual income tax return should have received the payment automatically. Some North Carolinians who were not required to file a return are still eligible, but must apply by December 7 in order to receive the grant.
5. CMS Second Semester In-Person Instruction Deadline Extended to Nov 30th
Deadline Nov. 30th! On Tuesday, November 10, CMS announced that all families who would like to make a change for semester 2 from Group A/B/C to Group D (Full Remote Academy) or Group D (Full Remote Academy) to Group A/B/C MUST do so by Monday, November 30, 2020. This is a change from the originally announced deadline. The last date to request a change for Semester 2 is Monday, November 30, 2020. The selected plan is binding for all of semester 2. ALL families of students who choose to attend in-person should complete the survey regarding the need for CMS-provided morning and/or afternoon bus transportation.
6. CMS Safety: Immunizations and Health Assessments for School-Aged Children Extended to Dec 30th
A new Executive Order has been issued by Governor Roy Cooper, extending the documentation deadline for immunizations and school health assessments to December 30, 2020. This extension was made due to ongoing concerns and reports that students and families are experiencing continued barriers to completing immunization and school health assessment requirements as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether children are home-schooled, attend school in-person or by remote learning, they are required by state law to be immunized based on their age for certain vaccinations.
7. Public Health Tips for Celebrating Thanksgiving Safely
Follow the 3 W's! Wear a mask, Wash your hands, and "Wait" at least 6 feet apart from others.
Holiday Safety: The CDC and NC Department of Health and Human Services have released guidelines for Thanksgiving safety regarding gatherings, food handling, and travel.
Mass Gathering's limited to 10 people: Last week, NC Governor Roy Cooper lowered the mass gathering limit to 10 people via Executive Order 176. The order went into effect on Friday, November 13 and will be in place through Friday, December 4. The Order does not change the reduced capacity limits for certain businesses that have already been laid out. For more on this, read the Frequently Asked Questions.
Public Health Tips for Celebrating Thanksgiving Safely: Travel and gatherings with individuals outside of your household should be avoided. If you must gather, do so outside and strictly adhere to the 3 Ws. Any gathering that does not adhere to the 3 Ws risks further spread of COVID-19 and should be avoided before, during and after Thanksgiving.
Avoid travel and gatherings with individuals outside of your household if possible.
Prepare a meal with people in your household.
Host a virtual Thanksgiving dinner and share recipes.
Put up your favorite decorations and share photos online.
Watch parades, sporting events and movies on TV at home.
Shop for food and other items online instead of in stores.
If travel and gathering with individuals is unavoidable, get tested first, and always follow the 3 Ws, even if you receive a negative test result.
Covid Testing Locations:
2845 Beatties Ford Rd. Monday-Friday from 10:00am-5:00pm
Bojangles Coliseum Monday-Friday10:00am-5:00pm
8. Covid & Flu Guidelines for Places of Worship
Guidelines for Places of Worship: The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has updated its COVID-19 guidance for places of worship and created a toolkit to support faith leaders in slowing the spread of the virus. Guidance includes 10 actions faith leaders can take with supporting materials and templates.
Importance of sharing Flu Shot Information with your congregation:
The flu shot is essential and NCDHHS asks that you share the importance of this simple preventive with your networks. To make it easier, there is language below that may help you get the message out.
Are you prepared for flu season? Getting a flu shot this year is critically important because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This is the case especially for people from racial and ethnic minority groups, who are often less likely to be vaccinated against flu and more likely to be hospitalized with flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We want to assure you that the process to get a flu vaccine is fast, easy and safe.
Why is it important to get a flu shot?
Because it limits the spread of flu and helps keep you and those around you healthy. Flu shots save lives every year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s especially important to do everything you can to keep your immunization system strong.
What are the benefits of a flu shot?
The flu shot can keep you from getting sick with flu. This vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year. It can also reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization for children, working-age adults and older adults. Remember, staying healthy is one of your best defenses against COVID-19. Now more than ever, flu shots matter for your health, for the health of your loved ones, and to help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most insurance plans cover the cost of flu shots. For more information about what to expect, visit vaccines.gov/get-vaccinated
9. Covid-19 Updates from NC Department of Health and Human Services
Colleges & Universities: updated guidance for colleges and universities, further emphasizing the work needed to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
SlowCOVIDNC Exposure App: SlowCOVIDNC is the official exposure notification app of North Carolina. The app alerts users when they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The app relies on users to anonymously submit their positive result to notify others. The app is anonymous and does not collect, store or share personal information or location data. More than 150,000 people have downloaded it, but the more who use it the better it helps slow the spread of COVID-19.
New online tools to help Spanish-speaking North Carolinians to determine if they should consider being tested for COVID-19 and help individuals monitor their symptoms if they have tested positive for or been exposed to COVID-19. These tools include:
Check My Symptoms (Comprobar Mis Síntomas): a public website that allows people to enter their symptoms to determine if they should consider getting tested for COVID-19. If a test is recommended, they will receive a link to a list of nearby testing sites via email or text.
Find My Testing Place: a public website that allows people to enter their county or ZIP code and access a list of nearby testing site locations online. To view in Spanish, users can select Spanish in the yellow box.
Interactive map to locate testing sites based on the users’ location.
10. New NC Program to offer Covid-19 Support Services
Governor Roy Cooper shared a recommended budget which outlines how to use the state’s remaining federal coronavirus funding and make responsible investments in the state’s future. A new program will offer COVID-19 support services, such as food, relief payments, or access to medical care, for individuals in isolation or quarantine.
Governor Cooper announced $175 million from three programs will help people avoid eviction and pay their bills.
Governor Cooper announced $12 million in grants to expand high-speed internet service in 11 rural NC counties.
A new Job Retention Grant Program through the NC Department of Commerce will help businesses recover from the pandemic.
11. Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services: Meck Better Together
Mecklenburg County's Department of Social Services (DSS) has teamed up with community partners to launch Meck Better Together. This initiative was created to maximize the efforts of child and family caring agencies to support families and focus on the safety and wellbeing of children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of the County's COVID-19 resources, the Meck Better Together resource list includes services that are available for children and youth that provide learning opportunities as well as recreational, social and emotional supportive activities.
12. Need Help with Rent or Mortgage?
RAMPCLT: Char-Meck Housing Partnership has a Housing Assistance Program that can help with rent and mortgage called RAMPCLT.
13. Prevent Lead Poisoning!
Lead Poisoning Prevention: City of Charlotte Housing and Neighborhood Services has partnered with NC Kids to promote leadfreenc.org, where North Carolina residents can identify lead risks in their homes and connect to certified professionals to help address potential lead hazards.
Lead is toxic, especially for pregnant women and young children under six. It can cause brain and nervous system damage, learning and behavior problems, slow growth and development, and hearing and speech issues. The most common source of lead exposure is from lead-based paint, which was used in many homes that were built before 1978. When old paint on walls or surfaces like window sills cracks and chips, children can chew, eat or even swallow lead dust. Residents should get their home tested if it was built before 1978, particularly if small children live there. A simple blood test can detect lead, and children should get tested early.
LeadSafe Charlotte is an ongoing effort at HNS that provides grants to assist low-income homeowners with addressing unsafe lead paint conditions that pose a potential health hazard to young children, including free lead inspections at the home, free blood testing for children, and free remediation of lead hazards in the home or rental property. Since the program's inception in 1998, the City of Charlotte has received over $17 million to reduce lead hazards in more than 2,000 homes.
14. Mayor’s Mentoring Alliance Awards
2021 Mayor’s Mentoring Alliance (MMA) Awards will be held on Thursday, January 21, 2021, virtually, from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Nominations will be accepted from Monday, October 12, 2020 until Monday, November 30, 2020.
Nomination Eligibility Criteria:
Individuals and agencies nominated must live or work in and serve the residents of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Nominees must not have received an MMA Award in the same (or similar) category within the past two (2) years.
Nominations must be submitted for work done by individuals and organizations within the year 2020.
Organization nominees should be registered on The Locator by the time their application is to be considered. There is still time to register! For more details on how to register your organization, please visit www.charlottenc.gov/mma
2021 MMA Award Categories: Please consider nominating a leader within your circle.
Mentor of the Year
Mentee of the Year
Peer Mentor of the Year
Best Collaboration in Mentoring
Grassroots Mentoring Organization of the Year
First Responder Mentor of the Year
Educator Mentor of the Year
Prayer for Non-Profit Leaders
We have to remember that work is not prayer. It is at best an extension of prayer. We fool ourselves if we argue that we don’t have to pray because we work so hard or our work is so good. Those who work without prayer – no matter how good the work, no matter how sincere the minister – soon dry up inside. They have nothing left to give. Or, the work fails and they have no faith to sustain them, no perspective to encourage them. More important, real prayer makes us more effective people because real prayer changes us. Prayer delivers us from our own internal oppressions, the burdens we put on ourselves, the bitterness we carry, because it enables the inbreaking of God into our lives. Joan Chittister, quoted in Pax Christi, 152