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Oct 8, 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 Updates

  2. Little Free Pantry Grants

  3. Green Faith & The Frontline Election Defenders Training

  4. Mecklenburg County Public Health Updates: Flu, Face Masks, Halloween

  5. Non-Profit Updates: Loaves & Fishes, Roof Above, International House, Refugee Support Services, MeckTECH, Hope House Foundation , Project 704

  6. Census Update


Important Dates:

  • Oct 14, 2pm: Refugee 101, Refugee Support Services, led by Rachel Humphries.Please email LeDayne Polaski for Zoom access.

  • Oct 15th, 11:00am: Next MeckMIN Leader Meeting. Register here

  • Oct 15th, 12:30pm: Sign up for MeckMIN's next Food For Thought: Important Life Conversations: Are You Having Them? Presenter: Lorrie Klemons, RN, MSN, Certified Dementia Practitioner, Author, 2020 National Caregivers Conference Speaker, and owner of Klemons Health Care Consulting. Families should be proactively having Important life conversations throughout the birth-death continuum; especially critical to the safe, dignified and joyful aging of parents.

  • Oct 17, 10am-12pm: Free Road to College Bilingual Workshop. Register Here

  • Oct 18, 2pm: Souls to the Polls, Concerned Clergy of Charlotte

  • Oct 24: Queen City Family Tree March to the Polls

  • Oct 27,1-3:15pm: Security & Safety Symposium for Faith-Based Communities. Register Here

  • Nov 24, 7pm: 45th annual MeckMIN Community-Wide Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. Become a Sponsor!


Opening Reflection – Amy Brooks 

Spirit of Life that resides within, may we be aware of this gift and this power with each breath that we take. Center us, ground us, help us to find peace in the midst of the confusion that surrounds us. We ask blessings to all people who surround us. Ease the suffering of so many in this age of systemic racism and pandemic. May wisdom and compassion be our ever present guides as we discern together the best way that we may know justice and peace in our cities and in our hearts. 


1. MeckMIN Updates

Food for Thought Oct 15th, 12:30pm: Join Lorrie Klemons, RN, MSN, Certified Dementia Practitoner, Author, 2020 National Caregivers Conference Speaker, and owner of Klemons Health Care Consulting, as she presents "Important Life Conversations: Are You Having Them?" Families should be proactively having Important life conversations throughout the birth-death continuum but they can be extremely difficult to have depending on varying circumstances. These conversations are especially critical to the safe, dignified, and joyful aging of parents. Lorrie's passion is to make sure every patient has an empowered voice in any healthcare setting and that every member of the healthcare team engages and embraces such empowerment in order to make sure the patient's voice is heard.

Open Tables: One congregation hosts and others come in and talk. This is a great opportunity to get to know people of other faiths. We are ready to restart virtually after a break since February. If you are interested in being a host or visiting congregation, please email LeDayne Polaski

Youth Leaders: We are restarting our youth programming. We began with service projects over the summer and want to build our contact list of who works with youth in congregations. If there is someone who works as a volunteer or staff person with middle and high school youth in your house of faith, please email their name and contact info to LeDayne Polaski so we can let them know about interfaith opportunities for youth. 

Videographer Needed: Looking for someone with basic video skills. We would like to make a very short MeckMIN video for end of year. Need someone who can film and edit, preferably for free. 

MeckMIN Needs Your Support! Gifts from individuals, congregations and organizations are our greatest source of income allowing us to sustain all we do. If you are a nonprofit agency, house of faith or an independent who appreciates and understands the important work that we are doing, we hope you will MAKE A GIFT today to help us continue our quest for compassion, understanding and justice.

MeckMIN Membership: We invite individuals, congregations of all faiths and nonprofit organizations to join MeckMIN’s interfaith network of members who are working together to foster cooperation, promote racial and ethnic understanding, and address social needs in Mecklenburg County.

  • Form meaningful relationships with people of other cultures and faiths​

  • Deepen the faith of your congregation as they expand their understandings of other faith traditions

  • Be a facilitator of positive change in our community 

  • Promote programs to member organizations through our e-newsletter

  • Get recognition of membership on MeckMIN’s website and in community-wide event programs

  • Receive recognition as a community collaborator associated with Mecklenburg County’s premier interfaith organization



1. Invite people to join in Food for Thought with Lorrie Klemons

2. Become an individual, congregational, or organizational member of MeckMIN or MAKE A GIFT!

3. Please consider hosting an Open Table for our community. Email

4.Youth Leader Contacts: If there is someone who works as a volunteer or staff person with

middle /high school youth in your house of faith, please email name and contact info to

LeDayne Polaski so she can forward interfaith youth opportunities.

5. Volunteer videographer needed!


2. Little Free Pantry Grants

Little Free Pantries are similar to Little Free Libraries but instead of being stocked with books they are stocked with non-perishable foods. See a database of registered pantries on their website. The city’s Neighborhood Matching Grants Eligibility Area is offering grants of up to $300 to build one or resupply one.  Houses of Faith are eligible. Eligible items include construction materials and labor, non-alcoholic beverages, non-perishable food items, paper goods and school supplies. Funds will be provided to approved applicants. Reimbursement, purchase receipts and registration as a city vendor are required. Reimbursement must be requested by November 1, 2020. Learn more here or contact Jackie at or call 980-214-3540. 

Takeaway: $300 Grants available to build Little Free Pantry. Reimbursement must be requested by Nov 1, 2020


3. Green Faith & The Frontline Election Defenders Training

Green Faith mobilizes diverse religious and spiritual communities globally for climate action.  They are urging voters to guide their election choices using the values through their Compassionate Voter CampaignThey are also concerned about voter suppression and confusion in the election and so are training“Moral Observers” who can employ a variety of strategies to ensure that voters are not intimidated at the polls. They will learn what to look for, how to de-escalate, and more. You can fill out the link or email Amy Brooks directly if you are interested.  If you are an organization that is already planning to work the polls, please reach out about collaboration. 

Question from Rachel Humphries: Refugees are sharing that they have been encouraged to vote twice. Is there something official that can be shared to clarify for them?



1. Attend Green Faith Moral Observer training to help employ a variey of strategies to ensure voters are not intimidated at the polls.

2. Share the above resources regarding illegality of voting twice


4. Mecklenburg County Public Health Updates

Flu Shots: Reports and experiences of some on the call indicate that flu shots are getting difficult to secure so be sure and get your vaccination if you haven’t yet. Visit Mecklenburg Health Department Prevent the Flu webpage to learn how to schedule a vaccination appointment at the Health Department. Click here to find where you can get a flu shot in your location.

Free Masks: Free masks are still available if needed through Atrium.  Karen Taylor will reach out to secure some masks for Pinewood Elementary. 

Guidelines for Halloween Trick or Treating: Mecklenburg County Public Health continues to monitor numbers through Phase 3 of the Governors order. See below for Halloween recommendations:

Halloween Safety Tips During Covid-19

5. Non-Profit Updates

  • Volunteers Needed: Loaves & Fishes urgently needs boxes as well as volunteers to pack the boxes at warehouse and deliver groceries.

  • Donate Food: 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 our Amazon Wish List and have items delivered directly to our door.  We are currently packing emergency food boxes and are in great need of the following items. canned meats – tuna, chicken, salmon, canned fruits – especially no sugar added or in juice, canned pastas – Spaghetti O's, ravioli, etc…, rice in 1 lb. bags, Pastas such as spaghetti, elbows, etc…(For Safety – No Glass Please!)

  • Registered Dietician on Staff: Loaves & Fishes now has a registered dietician on staff who can help secure specialty foods if you have diet restrictions because of heart trouble, diabetes or other challenges. These clients must be referred by a physician and food is picked up at a pharmacy.  Contact for more information. 

A new collaboration with Mecklenburg Transportation System (MTS) means they can provide rides for older clients with 24 hour notice.

Current Needs: Volunteers , boxes, food donations ;canned meats – tuna, chicken, salmon, canned fruits – especially no sugar added or in juice, canned pastas – Spaghetti O's, ravioli, etc…, rice in 1 lb. bags, Pastas such as spaghetti, elbows,


Winter Sheltering Update: We will do 2-3 large congregant spaces instead of the usual pattern. This will provide 17% more beds. Donors and grants are allowing for that. We are planning to serve men with Roof Above and women and women with children with Salvation Army. The men will enter a lottery to be admitted to the Tryon campus. The 130 extra beds will be at the overflow space where you will sign up at the day center or via hotline. They will need volunteers and donations for the overflow center.  Women and women with children will be managed through the Salvation Army process. 

Current Needs: new towels, washcloths, small toiletries. Please group toietries by type, not into individual kits (shampoos together, etc.) They also need men’s underwear, men’s socks, and bagged lunches. If you are gathering supplies, please hang onto them until November.  The logistics for delivery of supplies are still being worked out. 


  • Road to College Bilingual Workshop on how to prepare, plan and pay for college: Oct 17th, 10am - 12pm. This free workshop is for parents and students who want to learn more about standardized tests, college admissions and paying for college. Register HERE

  • Where: Midwood International and Cultural Center Auditorium, 1817 Central Ave.,Charlotte, NC 28205

  • When: Wednesdays from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm,Fridays from 12:00pm to 2:00pm, and Saturdays from 11:00am to 2:00pmFor more information please contact The Citizen Diplomacy Team:Email: Phone: 704-342-2248

  • Rising Readers Program: International house is planning a drive to collect plastic grocery bags for their Rising Readers program.

Current Needs: Spread the word about free Road to College workshop on Oct 17th

  • Refugee Support Service continues to serve more than 100 families a week at back lot of the Galilee Center. Boxes include food, cleaning supplies and community info.Thank you for helping us gather items for first aid kits. 100 of them are going out in the next two weeks. 

  • Donations : Collecting quarters for laundry , Donate your Laptops! Used laptops are being refurbished into usable computers for their clients by E2D. Generally, items can be delivered to Help Center any Wednesday or Thursday between 10-noon.If you are ordering something online, you can have it delivered to Refugee Support Services at 3601 Central Avenue, Charlotte, NC, 28205.

Current Needs: Quarters and Laptops


MeckTECH: Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, funded by Mecklenburg County as a grantee of the Coronavirus Aid, Relieve and Economic Security (CARES) Act, will make available 1,400 free computer devices to eligible households adversely affected by COVID-19 through its new pilot MeckTech program.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Mecklenburg County resident, 18 years or older, who is without a device AND that exhibits one or combination of the following:

  • Health and Human Services /DSS client (TANF, Unified Workforce, Seniors) who does not have a device and cannot access virtual services because of COVID-19 closures.

  • Older adults (60+ years old) experiencing social isolation due to COVID-19

  • Any adult who lost a job due to COVID-19

  • Any adult needing to reeducate and reskill for the job market because of the COVID-19 closures

  • Any adult needing access to telehealth services due to COVID-19

  • Adult Charlotte Mecklenburg Library members who due to COVID-19 have not been able to access services


Announcing The Cottages of Lindquist Glen! Hope House will be building three fully funded cottages to provide a teaching home model to families experiencing homelessness. We will offer wrap around supportive services from our partners in the Ada Jenkins Center that will focus on the whole family!


Project 704: Contact James Lee, is working with the community to provide pop-up clothing and food pantries as part of Project 704 and Displacement First Responders. The group has gotten large enough that they are now looking for space to meet and continue their work. Please contact James Lee if you might have space to donate or money to donate toward renting a space.

Current Needs: meeting space and monetary donations


6. Census Update 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied in part and granted in part the government’s request to stay the California District Court’s injunctions blocking the Trump administration’s effort to rush the collection and processing of 2020 Census data. 

  • The Court denied the government’s request to stop counting operations before October 31. This means that self-response and Nonresponse Follow-up (NRFU) will continue through October 31, and households have until October 31 to self-respond to the 2020 Census.

  • The Court granted the government’s request to stay the portion of the Order that would stop the Census Bureau and Commerce Secretary from compiling the apportionment data and reporting those numbers to the president by December 31, until the 9thCircuit rules on the merits of the government’s appeal. This means that the Secretary may transmit data to the president for apportionment by December 31, unless Congress extends the statutory deadline through legislation (that the president must sign).

(Elevate litigator Tom Wolf's tweet.) You can find the latest legal developments on the Brennan Center’s census litigation tracker.


First, we must continue to lift up the message that it is not too late to be counted, either via self-response (online, by phone, or using a paper form) or by answering a few questions from a door-to-door enumerator.

  • Here are graphics and talking points to support your Get Out the Count outreach.

  • Here is guidance on how to incorporate census outreach into your GOTV work if your organization is considering combining activities.

  • The latest data on self-response, total response rates and NRFU completion rates can be found on the CUNY Mapping Service Census HTC 2020 map at:

Second, we must push for congressional action to extend the census reporting deadlines and give the Census Bureau the time it needs to complete an accurate census. Congress must act to save the census because a failed count fails the whole country. The Census Bureau cannot compress data processing and quality assurance work any further and still tabulate acceptably accurate results by December 31 for apportionment. Congress must set a clear path forward by pushing back the deadlines for apportionment and redistricting data by 120 days each, as the administration requested in April. Even if Congress can’t vote on the extensions now, leaders from both parties should let the Commerce Secretary and Census Director know that they will push back the reporting deadlines, especially for apportionment, at the earliest legislative opportunity in a lame duck session.

  • Here are new talking points for legislative advocacy going forward.

  • Here is a new fact sheet on data processing: what it is; why it's important; why it can't be rushed.

  • Here is an explanation as to why, if the Bureau “counts” 99+ percent of all households, it doesn’t mean the census has collected accurate, high quality data or that the census will be acceptably accurate.

Relatedly, here is an op-ed from Jim Tucker, vice chair of the Census National Advisory Committee and pro bono voting counsel for the Native American Rights Fund, that was published in Morning Consult, “99% Completion Rate Does Not Equal a ‘Complete and Accurate’ Census.” Thank you all for your work to ensure a fair and accurate 2020 Census and helping to Make Meck Count!


Prayer for Non-Profit Leaders

May you find the focus that is meant for you, for your congregation and your organization. May you find the energy to do what you need to do and when it is done, may you find the grace to rest. May you do what is yours to do, no less, and no more. 


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