Seen Around Church – Week of November 5, 2023November 7, 2023
Seen Around Church: Week of November 12, 2023November 14, 2023
Searching for the perfect Christmas gift can be a challenge – Do I have the right size? Is it something the recipient will treasure? Is it something they will remember? Is it perfect?
When the gift is a book for a child, it’s just the right size. When the gift is a door for a home or a well-trained service dog, it is treasured. When the gift is a meal for those who are hungry, it is remembered. All are perfect gifts.
Donating to ministries that support our neighbors in need is an alternative and perfect way to honor loved ones at Christmas. With each purchase you will receive a gift card and note that can be given to your recipient acknowledging the gift that has been given in their honor.
You are invited to shop at the in-person SMPC Alternative Gift Market (AGM) on Sunday, December 3 from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. in the hallways surrounding the sanctuary or shop online from November 16-December 25.
Cash, debit and credit cards are accepted, as well as checks made out to “SMPC.” Contact: Donna Brown, [email protected].
The Children’s Market
The Children’s Market, an extension of the Alternative Gift Market, is designed to provide a teaching opportunity for parents to encourage children to select moderately priced alternative gifts for loved ones. Please look for specially marked items at displays throughout the market.
Ballantyne Families Helping Neighbors in Need
- $2.00 will buy a box of pasta to make a family meal.
- $4.00 will buy a box of cereal for a child’s breakfast.
- $2.00 will buy colored pencils.
- $3.00 will buy glue sticks.
Loaves & Fishes/Friendship Trays
- $2.00 will buy a jar of peanut butter to feed the hungry.
- $3.00 will buy juice for someone who is thirsty.
- $2.00 will provide a family with two bedtime stories.
- $5.00 will buy a new book for summer reading.
- Donate a new or gently used book for a child.
Project 2 Heal
- $5.00 will help purchase a service dog training vest.
Salvation Army Center of Hope
- $5.00 purchase kitchen items for Welcome Home Baskets.
Haiti – OFCB
- $2.00 will provide ten meals for students.
LOCAL COMMUNITY OUTREACH GIVING OPPORTUNITIES
BALLANTYNE FAMILIES HELPING NEIGHBORS IN NEED
Ballantyne Families Helping Neighbors in Need (BFHNIN) is a grassroots 501c3 organization supported by a growing group of over 800 Ballantyne families and organizations. Our primary goal is to address food insecurity in our community for families who work in or attend one of the nine schools in the Ardrey Kell High School feeder pattern* by bringing together our community to care for our neighbors in their time of need. We do this through food or gift card distributions four times per year. We have also recently started a food pantry that is housed at Community House Middle School to help with needs throughout the year. Since March 2020, we have given over $220,000 in grocery gift cards and over 1,900 bags of groceries to Ballantyne families in need.
Here’s how it works. The school counselors/social workers identify the families in need who attend or work in their schools. Ballantyne Families meets their needs by collecting food and monetary donations for four planned distributions per school year (Thanksgiving, December holidays, spring break and summer). For our elementary and middle school families, we provide both food and gift cards. For our high school families, we provide only gift cards to purchase the food they need. For spring and summer, gift card amounts are based on the total number of family members.
If there is a need in between these four planned distribution times, we fill the need with food from our pantry and funds from our account. Over 99% of the funds we have raised have gone directly to families in need. It has been truly incredible to see the generosity of our community helping our neighbors in their time of need! To find out how to get involved, go to www.linktr.ee/ballantynefamilies.
South Mecklenburg Presbyterian Church hosted our 2nd food drive within the first month of schools shutting down at the beginning of the Covid pandemic where we distributed over 650 bags of groceries to over 100 families!
*Ballantyne, Elon Park, Endhaven, Hawk Ridge, and Polo Ridge Elementaries, Community House and Jay M Robinson Middle Schools, Rea Farms STEAM K-8 and Ardrey Kell High School
Care Ring’s mission is to empower individuals with limited resources to establish and maintain good health. We do this through two focus areas:
Access to Care
Care Ring provides much-needed access to primary and specialty health care services to low-income, under/uninsured Mecklenburg County residents, through our Low-Cost Clinic and Physicians Reach Out (PRO) and the Bridge programs. This improves health outcomes for those served, reduces health disparities and saves over $16 million in prevented hospital charges annually. Last fiscal year, our Low-Cost Clinic served 2,039 patients, PRO served 5,479 patients, and the Bridge completed 234 mobile unit health care visits.
Maternal Child Health
Care Ring provides critical maternal child health services to pregnant mothers and their babies through our Nurse-Family Partnership and A Guided Journey programs. Both programs increase prenatal health and birth outcomes, improve developmental milestones, and advance school readiness. Last fiscal year, NFP served 880 mothers and babies and A Guided Journey served 481 mothers and babies.
COMMUNITY CULINARY SCHOOL OF CHARLOTTE
At Community Culinary School of Charlotte, we provide workforce development training and job placement assistance for adults who face barriers to long-term successful employment. By teaching Culinary Arts, Job Readiness and Financial Management, CCSC empowers chronically unemployed and underemployed adults to secure stable employment and provide for their families. This is upward mobility! Our program offers: personal chef instruction, wellness and recovery counseling, career readiness skills, paid internships and on-the-job training, ServSafe exam and full scholarships. Our vision is to transform the lives of our students and their families and positively impact our community.
CRISIS ASSISTANCE MINISTRY
Crisis Assistance Ministry’s mission is to provide assistance and advocacy for people in financial crisis, helping them move toward self-sufficiency. Mecklenburg County families receive help with life’s basic needs: emergency rent and utility assistance, clothing, household goods, furniture, beds, and appliances. Along with financial assistance, donations help provide one-on-one coaching and counseling with a caseworker to help families get on the path to economic mobility. In addition, our Civic Engagement Program increases awareness of the complex issues facing thousands of neighbors in Mecklenburg County living in poverty. Our vision is to inspire our community to justice and generosity as we provide help, hope, and understanding to people struggling with limited financial resources.
Freedom School partners with the Children’s Defense Fund to change the future for under-sourced students by giving them life-changing tools: literacy skills, character strengths and a community that believes in them. Through a summer reading and enrichment program, scholars focus on meaning-focused literacy skills and active reading, while building personal libraries, participating in energy-filled activities that get them geared up for a fun day of learning, and building connections and social and emotional skills. Freedom School serves children who are currently in kindergarten through 8th grade at multiple locations around Charlotte. In 2022 84% of children who participated in Freedom School maintained or gained reading ability, and 97% of parents reported an increase in their child’s confidence in their reading ability. Access to the Freedom School experience can reduce or eliminate the academic achievement gap, a key factor in students’ long-term success.
VIA HEALTH PARTNERS (HOSPICE)
VIA Health Partners, formerly Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region, is the Charlotte area’s “hometown hospice.” Founded in 1978, VIA Health Partners was the first hospice organization established in North Carolina. Since its founding, VIA Health Partners has helped thousands of families care for loved ones living with a terminal diagnosis. Our mission is simple: to relieve suffering and improve the quality and dignity of life through compassionate hospice care for those at the end-of-life and offer palliative care for those struggling with a life-limiting illness. Our care is patient-centered and family-focused. Donors from South Mecklenburg Presbyterian Church help fulfill our promise to the community, which is to accept all patients regardless of their age, medical complexity, or ability to pay. We proudly serve patients in 32 counties throughout North and South Carolina. Please contact Nancy Cole at [email protected] for more information.
LOAVES & FISHES/FRIENDSHIP TRAYS
Loaves & Fishes/Friendship Trays nourishes our neighbors with food and compassion by providing groceries, meals and hope through a network of food pantries and as the primary Meals on Wheels program for Mecklenburg County. Last year, Loaves & Fishes/Friendship Trays provided groceries and meals to 106,540 people, enough to not only fill Bank of America stadium but also the Spectrum Center and Bojangles Coliseum.
Groceries – providing a week’s worth of nutritionally balanced groceries to individuals and families experiencing a short-term crisis through a network of emergency food pantries located throughout Mecklenburg County.
Meals – delivering nutritious meals to elderly or infirm individuals who are unable to obtain or prepare their own meals while also providing human connection to the isolated and lonely and peace of mind to their families.
Food Drives: We are always in need of more food drives to feed our neighbors in need. Please reach out to Martha Cochrane to register and get a priority needs list.
Volunteer Opportunities: Delivery drivers is our biggest volunteer need. We use volunteer delivery drivers Monday-Saturday to deliver both a week’s worth of groceries and our prepared meals. Children of all ages can ride along to make these deliveries. We welcome individuals and groups of up to 15 people to work in the warehouse doing a variety of activities. The most frequent activities include sorting, inspecting, and/or packing donated food items. Volunteers must be 14 years old to participate in the warehouse. For more information, contact [email protected] for more information.
Please contact Martha Cochrane, [email protected] for more information about Loaves & Fishes/Friendship Trays or Jane Royther, [email protected] our South Mecklenburg Presbyterian church contact, for more information.
PROJECT 2 HEAL
Our mission at Project 2 Heal is to increase the availability of a service dog for veterans, children with special needs, and adults with disabilities. We accomplish this through the expert husbandry and nurturing of world-class Labrador Retriever puppies, purpose-bred and donated to carefully selected service dog training organizations nationwide.
Project 2 Heal provides early training to all pups starting as early as 2 days old. The success rate of Project 2 Heal puppies graduating as service dogs is an astounding 80%. Project 2 Heal believes in not wasting a day in a dog’s life and therefore, also provides canine assisted sessions to local children and adults in need, free of charge. We visit the CMPD CSI division regularly and provide stress down days to local corporations and schools. Project 2 Heal provides canine therapy visits to the Union County, NC school system as their approved organization and we visit assisted living facilities, too.
Our goal is to utilize the healing power of Labrador Retrievers to increase independence in mobility impaired individuals and to provide emotional healing for children with special needs and wounded warriors.
Promising Pages works to remove literacy barriers and increase book access for under-resourced families, schools, and child-serving organizations by collecting new and donated books and shares them with children living in the Charlotte Area Book Desert: those with few, if any, books at home. With only 21.5% of economically disadvantaged 3rd graders in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools reading on grade level, it is critical that students have access to books in their homes to support literacy and learning.
Last school year we distributed 283,651 books and served 64,180 children through our network of 18 Free Little Libraries and the following programs:
Books on Break – FREE in-school book fairs that provide five summer reading books to elementary school students to help prevent “summer slide”. 11,712 students in 23 Title I schools received over 68,213 summer reading books in May of 2023.
Feed the Body, Feed the Mind – Partners with local food banks and pantries to provide books alongside groceries and meals. 24 pantry sites distributed 15,009 books to 5,488 children receiving food assistance.
Bookseed & Reading Resource Centers – The Bookseed Program works in affordable housing communities to “seed” home libraries (25 books per child) and provides ongoing access to books & literacy resources for 1,000+ children and their families.
Community Partner Program (Book Bank) – This past school year, 154 nonprofit and child-serving organizations received free books for their students, schools, libraries, programs, and families in 56 zip codes throughout 14 counties.
Books: Books are donated via book drives, individuals, organizations, and purchased through our wish lists at local retailers and online. Visit http://promising-pages.org/donate-books-2/ to see our 17 drop-off locations!
Volunteers: Volunteers help us clean, sticker and sort donated books and are a critical element of our process. Our warehouse volunteers must be 16 years+ but we have lots of projects on the Get Involved page for younger volunteers! https://promising-pages.org/get-involved
Roof Above is an interfaith organization dedicated to uniting the community to end homelessness one life at a time. Roof Above was born from the merger of Urban Ministry Center and Men’s Shelter of Charlotte; now one comprehensive homeless service provider working to end homelessness. Roof Above offers everything from street outreach and basic services, to shelter and housing. Our services and programs reach over 1,200 individuals every day across seven campuses in Charlotte – and during COVID, we have added one more campus, converting dorms into an emergency shelter for working men.
- Basic services (showers, laundry, mail, lunch)
- Resource Center (IDs, prescriptions)
- Room in the Inn (offsite emergency shelter Dec-Mar)
- Approx. 500 shelter beds for men
- Income and Employment Programs
- SECU The Rise on Clanton – 88-unit permanent supporting housing for the chronically homeless
- Moore Place – 120-unit permanent supportive housing (PSH) for the chronically homeless
- Hillrock Estates – 341-unit Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH)
- Scattered Site and Rapid Rehousing
- SABER – Recovery Program and transitional housing community
Roof Above depends on the generosity of community to meet the daily needs of our neighbors. This winter season we are in need of in-kind donations such as food, special winter items and new welcome home kits. You can support us through hosting a collection drive and donating these items or purchasing from our Amazon Wishlist.
Check our Wish List Items where you can order and have our most needed items delivered directly to us!
To become a volunteer and to see all opportunities to engage in our mission, please visit www.roofabove.org/volunteer.
SALVATION ARMY CENTER OF HOPE
Homelessness creates hopelessness. Loss of hope is a tragic condition, and yet this tragedy persists in ever-increasing numbers in our community and nation. The potential causes are many: lack of affordable housing, loss of income due to job layoffs and losses, domestic violence, addiction or mental illness. Our foundation of faith compels us to do everything we can to help restore security and hope to these families.
At The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte, we help people experiencing homelessness get back on their feet and avoid having homelessness become their permanent status. We do this through our Center of Hope shelter, Booth Commons Family Center, housing programs and support from people like you.
Individuals and groups are welcome to come on site to prepare and serve a meal, or just be an extra pair of hands for our kitchen staff.
Groups are welcome to donate ingredients for meals or prepared meals that can be heated by our kitchen staff.
Volunteers can also provide “Welcome Home Baskets” – laundry baskets filled with necessary household goods for families transitioning to permanent housing.
GLOBAL MISSION GIVING OPPORTUNITIES
PRESBYTERIAN DISASTER ASSISTANCE
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance enables congregations and mission partners of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to witness to the healing love of Christ through caring for communities adversely affected by crisis and catastrophic event.
DR000148 – General Relief and undesignated program support: supplements the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) offering and enables members and congregations to make general designations to use funds where they are most needed as determined by PDA.
DR999999 – International Disasters and Emergencies: supplements the OGHS offering to enable a significant, initial response to major international disasters and emergencies.
DR 000015 – U. S. A. Disasters and Emergencies: supplements the OGHS offering to enable a significant, initial response to major national disasters and emergencies.
OFCB MINISTRIES – SCHOOL, MEDICAL CLINIC, and COMMUNITY in Bayonnais, Haiti
SMPC has supported OFCB Ministries since its inception in 1994. SMPC members have traveled to Bayonnais regularly, and we have strong, personal relationships with the leaders of the school, medical clinic, and community.
OFCB educates 2,300 students ages K-13th grade in 4 locations. Currently, 70-80% of high school graduates are attending Haitian colleges, the teacher education school in Bayonnais, or local trade schools. More than 80% of the employees of OFCB graduated from the high school. Donations to the OFCB school are used primarily for school food and secondarily for other school needs like teacher salaries. See next page for information about student sponsorships.
OFCB’s medical clinic was the first in Bayonnais and was built to support a community of 80,000 people. Several OFCB graduates are employed by the clinic. Donations to the clinic support salaries and medical supply needs.
Families in Bayonnais are very poor. One way to help is by providing for agricultural needs. SMPC provides funds for the purchase of goats and chickens for families to raise. The offspring of these animals are sold to increase family income. We also provide funds for farming tools.
OFCB STUDENT SPONSORSHIPS
SMPC partners with EWO (the Haitian Creole word for hero), a non-profit organization based in Charlotte, to secure school sponsorships for OFCB students. Annual sponsorships are $480 ($40/month) and help provide education, meals, a school uniform, and access to a medical clinic. Sponsors build relationships with students through letters, prayer, and even an in-person visit if you choose. Students available for sponsorship are pictured below; visit our table for additional students or contact Judy Jones: [email protected].