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!
In This Issue:
Latinx Complete Count Committee
Mecklenburg Health COVID update
Safe Reopening for Houses of Faith
Nonprofit Updates: Safe Alliance, Roof Above, UMBA Bright Stars, Loaves & Fishes, Refugee Support Services, Christian Responders, First Baptist Church-West, VoteRiders
Resources: City of Charlotte Deposit Assistance Program, SNAP Fraud Alert, Crop Walk
Oct 11th Crop Walk
Oct 15th, 12:30 pm: .Sign up for MeckMIN's next Food For Thought: Important Life Conversations: Are You Having Them? Presenter: Lorrie Klemons, 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. Does your faith tradition impact your decisions? Register Here
Sept 30th Census End Date: Click here to access Census Questionairre and FAQ.
Sept 24th, 11 am: MeckMIN Non-Profit Leader Meeting. Register Here
1. MeckMIN Updates
Congratulations to LeDayne McLeese Polaski on her one year anniversary as Executive Director at MeckMIN!
PARTNER WITH US! Time to renew your membership or please JOIN US as a new congregational partner. We need you! If you appreciate the work that MeckMIN is doing, please consider becoming a partner House of Faith and/or renew your membership. Complete the online membership form and submit today!
PO Box 11243
Charlotte NC 28220
COVID-19 Food & Financial Help Resource List, Newly Updated! MeckMIN is pleased to share this newly updated list of food and financial resources available. Please let us know if you have corrections or additions and please share generously!
MeckMIN has a new website! We are transitioning our email marketing from Robly to WIX in order to coordinate better with our new website. If you are a current subscriber of our newsletter, you may have received a new notification from WIX alerting you to "Subscribe." We hope you choose to continue your subscription to our newsletter and please share our website to help spread the word about what we do! Thank you for your continued support.
2. Mecklenburg County–DSS Updates
Website alllows you to apply for Medicaid, energy assistance and food assistance, do a self assessment to determine eligibility, and photograph and upload your documents so they will not longer get lost in the DSS black hole. Mobile friendly!
Mecklenburg County – DSS Current Needs:
Share the information about the site to your networks via email. If you have a lot of clients or members who you see in person, we can also provide you with flyers to share.
Email Jennifer Rupp , Jennifer.Rupp@mecklenburgcountync.gov to receive flyers and to SIGN UP for her weekly newsletter!
3. Latinx Complete Count Committee
The Latinx Complete Count Committee (CCC), formed by leading non-profits serving the Latinx community in Charlotte, is hosting multiple caravans in Mecklenburg County to invite neighbors to complete the Census 2020. Mecklenburg County current response rates continue to trend lower than 2010. With only less than a couple weeks away, community advocates do the last push to invite Latinos to complete the Census Count.The Starmount community is located alongside the South Boulevard corridor, where many Latinos have settled over the past ten years. Currently, only 41% of the residents have completed the Census. When compared to the response rates of the Census 2010, it is falling less than 10%.
"The count is critical for the future development of communities. The information is key to bring resources to localities in the form of funding for health, education, and transportation", said Maura Chavez, Chair of the Latinx CCC. “The Latino population has grown dramatically over the past ten years in Mecklenburg County. We need those numbers to be reflected in the count,” said Gina Esquivel, a contributor to the local Census campaign.
On Sept. 19, the Latinx Complete Count Committee invited the community to join a car parade with signs and messages to remind their neighbors to complete the Census.
4. Mecklenburg Health COVID Update
Kimberly Scales, Kimberly.firstname.lastname@example.org of Mecklenburg County is continuing to see a decrease in our percent positives and hospitalization numbers. We are still encouraging the wait, wear, wash messaging for all people. We are also monitoring our numbers as school and colleges begin to phase back into reopening. Any businesses needing guidance are welcome to reach out to public health for assistance and the public health COVID-19 hotline is still active.
Public Health Hotline: 980-314-9400
Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
5. Safe Reopening for Houses of Faith
Novant Health presented information on safe reopening of Houses of Faith during the MeckMIN Leaders Meeting on Sept 17th. Presenting were Elizabeth Trotman, email@example.com, from Novant community engagement, Chaplain Harry Burns who participated in guidelines within his church community, Porsche Jones who works community outreach in Winston Salem and Brian Dick who is the Director of Infection Prevention.
Toolkits Available: Novant has created a great toolkit that you should reference and use to guide your work. (PDF attachment below) It contains information on symptoms and prevention, how to access help if you are in need, how to prepare for services, considerations of venues, tissues and supplies, masking guidelines, etc., mental health resources, and national resources. The CDC also has an excellent faith-based toolkit located on their website : https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/faith-based.html
Use the information provided in toolkits mentioned above.
Assemble a round table team to consider every aspect of joining in the house of worship experience: Ask important questions, such as: What happens when you come into the parking lot, where will signage be, what is your reopening goal?
Review every step in light of the guidelines. Examine the building, the ventilation, whether moisture has condensed inside the ductwork and needs cleaning. Flush your toilets and run your water, review the places people are inclined to touch and monitor them like entry points and exit points and communicate around these new processes.
Chaplain Harry Burns' community submitted a proposal from a professional cleaner who specializes in churches. They removed real and artificial plants, put pews 6 feet apart, and allow only family members who live together to sit together. There are signs indicating temperature checks when you enter the sanctuary. The dining room is shut down. There are sanitation stations and the choir is disbanded. They still offer teleconference services as well.
Porsche Jones, who works community outreach in Winston Salem, reviewed the policies of a church in August that ran a test Sunday service with a small sample of the congregation just to try it out. There was a process for every step. A wrist band was received after two temperature check which granted access to a parking space. Ushers offered sanitizer once inside and checked for bands. Dots were placed on pews and ushers helped folks understand where to sit. After the test, the church decided to continue online.
Each House of Worship will have their own processes. Put together the round table to go through each step and do a trial run or two with a small group. Lead with logic and love.
Q & A:
How can we prevent aerosol spread?
Remember that prevention is not a single thing. When it comes to aerosol spread prevention, masks, social distancing, and handwashing can prevent spread along with air circulation improvements like fans to get the air moving in the building.
Is it responsible to consider reopening right now? Correct me if I am wrong, is it not best practice just not to do in person worship right now? Would it not be best to continue to do virtual worship. Doesn’t all the cleaning give a false sense of security?
It is not ideal to reopen right now but if you are because it is necessary for your community, you should get up to speed on cleaning. Houses of Faith need to make the decision for themselves. One in SC opened, 26 people got sick and now the church is being charged. Being virtual does not diminish your faithfulness.
What are the guidelines on communion?
From Kristen Andersen of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: We started last month - once a month, less than 99 people per session, no singing, hand sanitizer, etc. Only 45 minutes long. Worked great - Communion packaged individually.
Additional Q & A via Email:
Since no one has been inside our sanctuary since mid March, would we need to disinfect, clean, sanitize our sanctuary and fellowship area from top to bottom before going back in? I have been told by some, that since it's been that long, any germs that may have been present are now gone and we need not to do a thorough cleaning. Is this true?
CDC has a nice article addressing this : https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/building-water-system.html This is great opportunity to put the facility to what I call zero, or baseline – which is a very clean state. In general, I recommend inspection for mold followed by a thorough cleaning that includes dusting, washing linens, vacuum carpets, mop floors, and wipe down ‘contact surfaces’ like pews. Open doors/windows, add fans and ‘air-out’ the building. Flush water lines, clean/disinfect bathrooms and sinks.
What do you all recommend as far as cleaning the church between services? Unfortunately, our church does not have the funds to do vast cleanups between services.
See CDC guidance https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/faith-based.html
What are suggestions concerning using microphones and singing from the choir loft?
Microphones would be extremely difficult to disinfect. So unless you dedicate a microphone per person, I would not use. Choirs are likely the most risky activity and I suggest you pause choirs for now due to the potential for aerosolization.
From Rev Glencie Rhedrick at First Baptist Church – West: Trunk or Treat has been canceled. We are planning to begin worship right the first of the year and that's only if the science says differently. As for funerals, we have had at least four and follow the protocol of how many persons are allowed to be in the sanctuary. Each viewer is asked to get their own elements to participate in the communion practice. The adult Bible Study provides communion each first week of the month.
From Bruce Baker-Rooks: The CDC recommends a threshold of near zero new cases per day, which for CharMeck is 110 or fewer new cases per day for 42 days (3-Phase) idea. We’re heading in the right direction, but should we just follow the numbers or should we be taking other things into consideration?
From Amelia Stinson-Wesley: We are planning an outdoor, socially-distanced worship service for World Communion Sunday. We have the pre-packaged "coffee creamer style" elements that will be in individual ziplock baggies that also includes a printed prayer. We will not be singing out loud. I am aiming for a 30-40 minute service. Everyone is to bring their own chair and wear a mask. My church has a huge front yard and we can space out considerably. From Jane Shutt at Pineville UMC: They are hosting outdoor worship with about 30 in attendance. Communion is offered in Ziploc bags and individually packaged.
From Clarke Cochran, St. Peter Catholic: they re-opened around the first of June. Numbers of attendees have gradually increased, but we are still below 25% capacity. Strictly enforce masks and distancing. Cleaning after each service. People are very respectful of the limits. No infections that we are aware of.
Final Thoughts: Remember to take extreme precautions and prepare for a marathon, not a sprint. Communicate, communicate. Lead with Love and Logic. There are consulting services available through the corporate team.
Contact Elizabeth Trotman- firstname.lastname@example.org
6. Nonprofit Updates
Safe Alliance: Tenille Banner, email@example.com Safe Alliance serves survivors of sexual and domestic violence. They usually provide holiday baskets for 100 – 125 individuals each year but they can’t do their usual process. They are turning to the public for donations of gift cards and money. Each basket contains holiday treats and a $50 gift card that the family can use to purchase gifts for one another. There are about 25 families they are aiming to serve this year and each gift basket will cost about $250 for a total donation need of $6,250. They are planning a “Hope is Calling” campaign in lieu of the HOPE breakfast that they usually have, www.safealliance.org/breakfast. Partnering with WBTV to ensure folks know that help is available.
Domestic Violence has increased since COVID: Hope Line calls have increased 45%.
Safe Alliance Current Needs:
1. Donations of money and gift cards for holiday baskets
2. Distribution of yard signs: To help spread the word to those in need, Safe Alliance is creating yard signs and partnering with individuals and congregations to post signs in prominent places. Email Tenille Banner for a sign
Roof Above Current Needs:
New tents and sleeping bags! Drop off at 945 N. College St. from 9am-12.
UMBA Bright Stars have found a space at Greater Bethel AME. That connection was made by the MeckMIN East Side calls which connected Greater Bethel and Bright Stars. We celebrate the connections that are being made!
Loaves and Fishes : Word from CMS is please don’t buy the breakfast and lunch meal bundles if you don’t need them and plan to donate them. There is too great a risk of contamination during transportation of the food and the bundles are covered by federal money which comes with other regulations.
Refugee Support Services: The shortage of coins in the country right now has made it hard for their clients to use the coin laundromats. On average, their clients spend about $9/week – 36 quarters. It has become a struggle. Alma Hernandez of International House suggested that some laundries have pre-paid cards that can be filled with paper money. Rachel Humphries, firstname.lastname@example.org ,will explore whether the laundries used by their clients do this but in the meantime it would be great if folks could collect quarters for donation.
Refugee Support Services Current Needs:
Collect quarters from your network or elsewhere to donate for laundry.
Christian Responders, a St. Matthew Catholic church and Matthews Methodist Ministry (home2home) have joined forces on efforts to collect furniture and supplies for Eastern, NC as well as other disaster areas.They need used furniture, appliances, and kitchen & bath items for people who lost everything in recent storms. Many families are currently living in small FEMA trailers (travel trailers) and are trying to find affordable housing. When they do, they will be moving in with nothing, only what has been donated for them.
Christian Responders & home2home Current Needs:
Furniture, appliances, and kitchen & bath items. To donate, email Joe George, email@example.com or call 704-906-0784.
First Baptist Church - West, Important Reminders!
Complete the Census: the end date is September 30. Charlotte is lagging which means billions of dollars we will leave on the table.
Absentee Ballots: Please fill out the absentee ballot. You can drop it off at the early voting sites if you don’t trust the postal service.
Evictions: Evictions are on hold from Sept 4 through Dec 31st
7. Additional Resources
The Deposit Assistance Program provides assistance to Charlotte’s residents who have found rental housing, but have been adversely impacted by Covid-19 and need help covering the first month’s rent, security deposit, and/or utility deposit. The Deposit Assistance Program is a partnership between the City of Charlotte and Socialserve. Charlotte residents that meet the requirements below can access assistance to move into permanent rental housing. Once an application is submitted, a Socialserve representative will work with each applicant 1-on-1 to determine eligibility. ** PAYMENTS WILL BE MADE TO THE PROPERTY AND/OR UTILITY SERVICE PROVIDER **
Applicants must be:
A current resident of the City of Charlotte
Have sufficient income or an ongoing subsidy to pay rent for the housing unit sought
Have total income at or below 80% of the Area Median
Have been adversely impacted by Covid-19
Have or be able to obtain an approval letter from a rental property
Please have the following items ready to upload to this application:
Proof of current income - copies of the most recent paystubs and any other source of income for each household member with income.
A current property approval letter that shows property owner name and contact information, applicant's name, location of property to be leased, and the amount of first month's rent and security deposit that will be required
If utility deposit assistance is requested, a copy of a statement from the utility company showing utility company name, applicant name, account number, and amount of deposit required
Proof of Covid-19 impact, such as letter from employer showing reduction in hours or income, doctor's note showing Covid-19 diagnosis, documentation of current stay in hotel or shelter for 30 days or more, or if currently housed, a letter explaining why you must exit your current housing arrangement.
Once you complete the application, you will be contacted by a representative from Socialserve’s Deposit Assistance Program team. If you have any questions please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Utilities link: https://rampclt.com/utility-assistance
WASHINGTON, September 10, 2020 – USDA issued the following notice today to protect SNAP participants, after receiving reports of several possible SNAP Fraud attempts:
Be aware of a scam using texting to obtain your personal information. The text might say you were chosen to receive food stamps or SNAP. If you do not know if a request for information about SNAP is real or not, contact your local SNAP office. Never share personal information with individuals or organizations that you do not know. Personal information includes your social security number, bank information, or SNAP electronic benefits transfer card or PIN number.If you think the text is a scam, do not reply at all. Just delete.
If SNAP participants are unsure if a request for information is legitimate, USDA advises they contact their local SNAP office. If they do not know their local SNAP office, participants should contact their state agency. State contact information is available at https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/state-directory.To stay on top of potential scams, please visit USDA’s SNAP scam alert webpage at https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/scam-alerts. If you believe you are the victim of identity theft, contact your local police department regarding procedures for filing a report. You may also file a consumer complaint online with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at https://www.ftc.gov. FTC is the federal agency responsible for protecting consumers from identity theft scams.USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.
Charlotte CROP Hunger Walk, Sunday, October 11th, 2020
Pledge Your Donation! or Register Online! Gather your friends, family, congregants, and community members to walk in a safe and socially distanced manner. Even though the CROP walk may be virtual this year, the need is more real than ever.. The “Charlotte CROP Hunger Walk”, hosted by Church World Service, will benefit 3 local charities who work to address hunger and poverty in our community: Crisis Assistance Ministry, Loaves & Fishes, and Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. Funds raised will also support Church World Service’s international relief programs across the globe. Corporate sponsorships allow for 100% of the money raised by walkers to go directly to the mission.
Tina Postel, Executive Director of Loaves and Fishes: “We are helping feed our hungry neighbors in need and we couldn’t do that if it wasn’t for generous supporters like you who support the CROP walk and help feed people here locally, but also worldwide.”
COVID-19 has brought unique and additional challenges to helping the neediest among us, but organizations like Crisis Ministry are working hard on the frontlines each day.
Carol Hardison, Crisis Ministry CEO reminds us, “It’s only all possible because friends like you, out there, provide hope, prayers, support, and amazing financial contributions that makes this all possible.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought even more shortages to our local communities and worldwide which means we need your support more than ever before. We encourage all businesses, congregations and organizations to create a team of walkers to show their support for our global and local communities and our neighbors in need- but you don’t need to walk to donate!
Kay Carter, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina: “We’re walking to end hunger, and we’re walking not to just end hunger in our region but all throughout the world. I would encourage every one of you to join me and join my staff as we walk to end hunger on behalf of the CROP walk this year.”
8. Voting Resources
Become a Voting Rights Champion to get access to FREE RESOURCES AND SUPPORT to ensure that voters in your nonprofit’s community can successfully cast their ballots this fall. COVID-19 pandemic has forced many nonprofits to rethink their plans for in-person voter registration and voter education work this year. To help North Carolina nonprofits navigate the changing landscape of nonpartisan voter registration and voter education, You Can Vote launched its Voting Rights Champion program to provide accurate, easy-to-read, bilingual resources on voter registration and the election process in North Carolina.
Click here for VOTER FAQs! You Can Vote provides clear, accurate, and nonpartisan answers to a variety of common questions about the 2020 election process in North Carolina, including absentee voting by mail (it will be very popular this year), the process for requesting an absentee ballot (it’s best to start the process sooner rather than later!), photo ID (not required this year), and voter fraud (it’s extremely rare). The center encourages all nonprofits to read these FAQs and share them with their staff, boards, volunteers, and the people they serve.
National Voter Registration Day is SEPT 22nd! Voter Registration Day is a great opportunity for nonprofits to ensure that their staff, volunteers, and community members are registered to vote. SIGN UP to join the nationwide effort to register hundreds of thousands of voters on September 22. As an official partner, you will receive a free voter registration kit and access to other opportunities to support your nonpartisan voter registration work.
PRAYER FOR LEADERS
Reprise the opening prayer :
May the Lord give you courage and strength and compassion to make ours a better world, to make your community a better community, to make your house of faith a better house of faith.And may you do your best to make it so, and after you have done your best, may the Lord grant you peace.”