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Oct 29, 2020| 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. Please 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:

  1. MeckMIN Youth, Virtual Open Tables, Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

  2. Mecklenburg County Health Department

  3. Community Gardens

  4. HOPE Program for rent and utility assistance

  5. IRS Stimulus Checks

  6. West Side Think Tank & Education Equity

  7. Mecklenburg County Waste Reduction & America Recycles Day

  8. CATS is Offering FREE RIDES ALL DAY on NOV 3rd

  9. National Family Literacy Month

  10. Non-Profit Updates


Opening Reflection – Sonja Lee

(Revised from St. Joseph’s Candler) Great Creator God, we thank You for this time of gathering and for the opportunity to do Your will. We place ourselves and our work in Your hands.

Anoint our creativity, our ideas, our energy so that even the smallest task that we perform may bring You honor and edify Your people. God, when we are challenged, guide us. When we are weary, renew us. May the work that we do and the way that we do it bring hope and life and courage to all with whom we minister.

We pray for safety in the midst of storms and flooding in the Gulf Coast States. We pray for comfort for the family of Walter Wallace. We pray for peace in the streets of Philadelphia – indeed – we pray for peace throughout our nation and the world.

We ask for safety and fairness for all who go to the polls during this election season. We pray for their care and protection.

In all things we pray in the name of Love. Amen


1. MeckMIN Updates

MeckMIN Youth and Youth Leader Meeting (Zoom) : Thursday Nov 19th 7:30pm-8:15pm. MeckMIN will host a 45 minute conversation for middle and high school students, parents and youth leaders to generate ideas for 2021 MeckMIN Youth Program. Mark your calendar! Youth Mission Project, Dec 5th 1 to 3 p.m.

Virtual Open Tables! Our recent Open Table event featured three diverse congregations and was very successful on Zoom.

Through fellowship and food, Open Tables aims to build substantive relationships among our diverse congregations based on our shared humanity, reaching beyond the divides of tribalism.

Three or four congregations come together and break into small groups to discuss issues and experience different faiths. If you are interested, recruit some folks in your community and reach out to LeDayne Polaski

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. Hosted by Temple Beth El, the theme will be “The Truth of our Connectedness” and the featured speaker will be Rev. Dr. Peter Wherry. 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.

We're looking forward to using this platform to creatively connect as we look to unify and encourage our whole community!

Sponsor's Needed for 45th Annual Community-Wide Thanksgiving Service! Hosting this event virtually will cost $2,000 more than budgeted. MeckMIN is currently seeking businesses, congregations, organizations and individuals to Become a Sponsor to assist with the increased cost. Our goal is to raise $2,500. Please help us spread the word!

Current Needs:

  1. Share the flyer about the youth programs (will be available soon)

  2. Sign Up to Sponsor the Thanksgiving service or recruit someone!

  3. Share the Interfaith Thanksgiving webpage on social media and with your communities.

  4. Consider signing up for an Open Table event one month. Email LeDayne


2. Mecklenburg County Health Department

The Health Department continues to emphasize and support good hygiene practice. In particular they suggest you:


3. Community Gardens

A local congregation is interested in starting a community garden. Are there existing congregations with community gardens that might be willing to share their experiences and advice? If you have established a community garden in your house of worship, contact LeDayne if you are willing to help out this congregation that is just starting on this journey.


The new HOPE (Housing Opportunitues and Prevention of Evictions) Program provides rent and utility assistance to prevent evictions and utility disconnections for eligible, low to moderate-income renters experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Renters in North Carolina can apply for the program online here or call 888-892-1162.


5. IRS Stimulus Checks

The IRS is still looking to distribute stimulus checks to those who never received them. Most of those who have not received them are people who are eligible but did not file a tax return. If you know someone who might benefit, they can use the online tool for non-filers here


6. West Side Think Tank & Education Equity

West Side Think Tank has been focused on educational equity on the West Side for several years now. They are looking for a faith partner to walk the path with them. “You don’t have to know a bunch about what we do but basically we come together once a month to solve problems in education." If interested, Contact Shamaiye Haynes, 513-884-0822


7. Mecklenburg County Waste Reduction & America Recycles

MeckMIN, Mecklenburg County Waste Reduction

Mecklenburg County is pleased to announce a collabrative partnership between the City of Charlotte Solid Waste, Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful and Keep Charlotte Beautiful as we honor America Recycles Day with the following events:

Nov 14th, 9am-12pm: Free Paper Shredding Event with Mecklenburg County Waste Reduction ( 2 different locations ) Shredding trucks will be at the Foxhole Landfill & Recycling Center (17131 Lancaster Highway) and Compost Central & Recycling Center (140 Valleydale Road). Residents are encouraged to bring up to 3 Banker boxes of their confidential papers to be shredded. Also at this event, Mecklenburg County will also give away Kraft paper yard bags, recycling information, and ask residents to sign the Mecklenburg County "Recycling Pledge Cards" to enter to win exciting prizes.

Nov 16th, 6pm-8pm: Wishful Recycling in Mecklenburg County Webinar Panel discussion and Q+A with sustainability professionals from across Charlotte. Sponsored by Keep Charlotte Beautiful, Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful and both City and County Solid Waste Services! Panel participants include:

Daniel Heaton, Independent Consultant with Envision Charlotte

("What is Wishful Recycling")

Stephanie Hoffman, Corporate Donations Manager of Goodwill Industries of Southern Piedmont

("What is E-Waste & the Dell ReConnect Program")

Rodney Jamison, Director of the City of Charlotte Solid Waste

("Outlines the City of Charlotte Waste Services"

Jeffrey Smithberger, Director of Mecklenburg County Solid Waste

("Outlines Mecklenburg County Waste Services")

David Valder, Crown Town Composting and Chair of Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful

("What is Wishful Composting")

To register for this event, click here. For additional information, questions or concerns about this webinar, feel free to contact Allison Lavallee.

Nov 17th, 6pm-7pm: "Recycle Right" virtual presentation webinar presented by Mecklenburg County Independent Recycling Educators Maitri Meyer and Walker Spruill. Participants must pre-register to receive the participation link.

Nov 19, 2020 at 12pm: "The 7R's of Waste Reduction" virtual presentation webinar. For this webinar, participants should have previously attended a "Recycle Right" webinar. Participants will receive a more in-depth waste reduction presentation and conversation. This webinar will also be presented by Mecklenburg County Independent Recycling Educators and advanced registration is required to receive the participation link.

“Check out how Mecklenburg County is celebrating America Recycles Day November 14-19th. Register for each event individually and submit your Recycle Right Pledge. Remember to always “Recycle Right!”

Current Needs:

  1. Share these Mecklenburg County Waste Reduction & Keep Charlotte Beautiful Facebook posts on your social media accounts.

  2. Help us get the above graphics and sentence into as many group email/e-newsletter lists as possible ideally during the week of November 4th through 11th!


8. CATS is Offering FREE RIDES ALL DAY on NOV 3rd!

CATS free public transit

The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) will provide free public transit to the polls on Election Day. CATS’ policy board, the Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC), voted and approved free fares for all fixed-route bus, LYNX Blue Line, and STS para-transit riders on Tuesday, November 3. Riders are reminded to abide by the current social distancing protocols on bus and light rail. Riders may only sit in unmarked seats; bus loads will continue to be capped at 20 passengers. CATS highly encourages the use of a face mask while on-board a vehicle. Riders can plan their trip via Google Trip Planner or by visiting to find their nearest route.


9. National Family Literacy Month

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library - November is National Family Literacy Month

Check out extensive parenting programs including parent lunch and learns, bullet journaling classes, social emotional tips, literacy tips and more. All programs can be found online here.

Nov 17, 6:00pm-7:00pm: Virtual Family Literacy Night, for all elementary school families! You and your children are invited to a fun and engaging virtual literacy night. Learn literacy tips and helpful resources for reading, find out about Library resources, and have fun with your child!  What to expect:  Dancing, storytelling, puppeteers, fun family literacy activities, and a few surprises along the way! You don't want to miss this fun family literacy opportunity! Register Here!

MeckMIN, Augustine Literacy Project


10. Non-Profit Updates

  • Laptop donations: Refugee Support Services (RSS) remains in need of laptop donations that can be used to close the digital divide for our program participants. Our partner agency, E2D, will clean them up, fit them and return them to us for donation to our refugee friends who will also participate in a training program.

  • Quarter donations for laundry: In light of the national coin shortage, we continue to collect quarters to share with our program participants to help them do the basic essentials of, their laundry.

Donations can be brought to the back parking lot of the Galilee Center located at 3601 Central Ave. on Wednesday mornings 8:30am - 9:30am.


Food donations, in-kind donations and limited volunteer in-person help needed! The Room at the Inn will be different this year. Our neighbors WILL STILL HAVE SHELTER. Instead of sheltering at houses of faith, however, they will be in other settings. For men, this will include additional space at the Tryon shelter and the addition of a 130 bed Statesville Ave. shelter. The Salvation Army will be providing additional beds for women and children. Total capacity will actually INCREASE by 17%. Roof Above is also adding warming spaces to combat the weather. Please view details in recent newsletter

Food Donations: Sign up for opportunities below will be provided no later than November 1.

  • Bagged Lunches: Sign up to prepare and deliver bagged lunches. Volunteer-prepared bagged lunches currently serve motel and dorm locations. This winter there will be a third location – the overflow shelter at the Giles Center on Statesville Ave. We would love for our Room at the Inn volunteers to focus on meeting this need. 

  • Cookie Connection: Deliver a delectable treat for those in our overflow shelter. We’re asking to provide 2 cookies in a Ziplock bag for 130 guests. Please keep the cookies consistent and refrain from using peanuts. 

In-Kind Donations: We believe our neighbors will need quite a lot this winter – whether they have an actual shelter bed, or joining us at the nightly overflow shelter. The following items are what we’re especially requesting for winter sheltering:

  • New towels and washcloths

  • New men’s hats and gloves

  • New men’s boxer-briefs (M, L, XL, XXL)

  • New men’s socks

  • Masks (washable or disposable – homemade masks welcome)

  • Travel-size toiletries separated by like-items (please, no individual bags).

  • shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, small cans of shaving cream

  • Hand sanitizer

How To Collect: Amazon Wish List availble Nov 1. While you can certainly begin collecting now on your own, we will be creating and posting an Amazon Wish List for your convenience and will have that posted and sent to you by November 1st. Also, we ask that while you are handling items, we encourage you to wear gloves and masks. 

In-Person Volunteering: The shelters will be primarily operated by our professional, frontline staff. However, we will be seeking a handful of volunteers for opportunities that will include organizing and transporting donations between shelters, and operating a phone hotline that will serve as part of the lottery process for our nightly overflow location. We will evaluate additional on-site volunteering as we get into November and early December, depending on COVID trends and service needs. Examples of possible needs, include the distribution hygiene items, food, and monitoring the cell phone lockers. We will let you know more information as the logistics are set. 


Nov. 21, 9am-12pm: Rising Readers Family Outreach Program FREE Drive-Through Giveaway Event for Briarwood Elementary! MUST preregister. Volunteers needed to be runners, direct traffic, collect trash, etc. Email Erin Phelps if you are interested in volunteering or donating and/or if you have clients, congregation members, community partners who have students who attend Briarwood Elementary.

Nov 7th, 9am -12pm International House: Fresh Produce for Galilee Center's remote learning students. We are collecting carrots, apples, pears, unripe bananas, grapes, oranges Bring extra quarters to donate to Refugee Support Services to help our community members do laundry! Email Erin Phelps

MeckMIN, International House , Galilee Center

The Carter Center has identified Mecklenburg County as an area of particular concern on election day and during certification period and beyond. They are identifying and building up community resilience in the identified areas and are looking for local help identifying stakeholders who can help spread their information about election resilience and help increase overall community resilience.

Current Needs: Share your contacts and ideas for the shareholders who are most likely to help in this effort. Stakeholders identified so far include:

  1. Political leaders

  2. Methodist and Episcopal

  3. Baptist leaders

  4. The Charlotte Response Coalition

  5. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

  6. Refugee Support Services

  7. Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom

  8. AME

  9. AMEZ

  10. UMC

  11. Charlotte Department of Housing and Neighborhoods

  12. Charlotte Women's Movement

  13. Community Building Initiative

  14. Charlotte Clergy for Justice

  15. Episcopal Convocation of Charlotte

  16. Methodists

  17. RAP/TRAAC Commission of Charlotte

  18. NAACPEpiscopal Bishop of NC

  19. Bishop Anne Hodges - Copple

  20. NC LGBT Chamber of Commerce

  21. Latin American Chamber of Commerce


The Universa Institute forSuccessful Aging of the Carolinas is interested in meeting up with the community garden team and would like to offer 100 lunch boxes to families living in tent village near uptown between College and Statesville Road. (They also have veg- lunch boxes available) Seniors interested can call 704-491-1186 and register Monday - Friday.


Info on Turkey boxes with trimmings for Thanksgiving should be forthcoming soon. The boxes are part of their pop-up food shares and will not require referrals. Volunteers are needed to help pack their 7-day boxes.


VoteRiders continues to focus on securing IDs for those without them. They have successfully partnered with Safe Alliance and Roof Above among others on this call but they are happy to work with more groups. They pay the cost of getting the documents needed including DMV costs and their work will continue after the election.


MeckMIN, Catawba Indian Nation

November is National Native American Heritage Month! Catawba Indian Nation lives on Catawba, Sugaree, Waxhaw and Cheraw land. The Catawbas have a speakers bureau that can support your own efforts to lift up the heritage here. We encourage you to explore for your congregation. Catawba Chief Bill Harris is available for speaking engagements.

Contact Kristie Ratterree, (Phone: (803) 366-4792) Outreach Coordinator for scheduling information. Address:Catawba Indian Nation, 996 Avenue of the Nations, Rock Hill, SC 29730


Nov 10, 11:00am -12:00pm: Partnering with Habitat For Humanity: Have you and your ministry thought about supporting Habitat lately, but weren’t sure where to start? Curious about our work and what we’re doing in the community? Join us for a quick, no stakes meeting to learn more about our programs, and what you and your congregation can do to help our community build back this year. As part of this meeting you will have the opportunity to speak with Sherika Eskridge, who works directly with families partnering with our services. In addition, we will be unveiling our brand new ‘no sweat’ way of gathering financial support for Habitat this Advent season - no budgets or marketing required!


The Lionel Lee Center has been volunteering with Democracy NC on vote protection. They have been at the West Blvd Library and Allenbrook Polling station as well as participating in Souls to the Polls and driving seniors. Its been great to be out there supporting the election process.

The NC Council of Churches is looking for a lay leader from the area to serve on their board. Contact Sonja Lee

Current Needs:

  1. Know someone who needs a ride to the polls? Contact Sonja Lee

  2. Please reach out if there is a lay leader you would like to nominate for the NC Council of Churches


Block Love, Contact Deborah Woolard , 704-577-1812

“Several of our neighbors living in tents lost their tents in the storm this morning. Block Love would like to act quickly to replace them. You can order from Amazon Wish List (less than $30/each) and have them shipped directly to Block Love at:

7137 Founders Club Court

Charlotte, NC 28269

If you have used tents in good condition, those are also welcome.


Community Engagement | Volunteer Opportunities

To better connect you, we have compiled a list of volunteer opportunities below to share with your communities:

Urgent Needs:

Hope Street Food Pantry: In critical need for extra refrigeration & freezer space over the upcoming holiday season. They feed on average 119 families, 462 people, and serving 1,071 meals a week. In order to keep up with the holiday influx, we need your help. If you have freezer space at your location or are able to donate financially, please email Melody

Continuous Needs:

Legal Aid Eviction Moratorium Order & Affidavit information: Review the order and learn how you can be an advocate

CMS Attestation Forms: Any student needing bus transportation will be required to turn in a completed CMS Attestation Form to the bus driver every week. The form is available in a multitude of different languages.

Loaves & Fishes: Volunteers are needed to help pack their 7-day boxes.

Second Harvest Food Bank : Volunteers are needed to help pack their referral food boxes for immediate distribution into our community.

MedAssist: Volunteers are needed to help unpack and sort their daily medication deliveries.

HELPS Virtual Tutoring: The Virtual HELPS Literacy Program is an evidence-based, research-validated literacy intervention that is proven to build students’ fluency and comprehension reading skills. Serve for 1 hour each week to help transform a student’s life!


Prayer for Non-Profit Leaders

From the Growing Edge podcast: Wendell Berry: When there is a big problem, we are tempted to look for a big solution. But what actually works is a million, million small solutions.

Today may your imagination be captured by the small, the doable, the human-sized actions within your power to give and to receive.


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