Thursday, June 25, 2009

Filling in the gaps, a need at a time

Charlotte's nonprofit leaders know that our needs crisis won't be solved by large donors riding in with rescuing cash, but with an accumulation of smaller efforts - people responding to funding shortfalls with their wallets and time. Much of that support will begin in a place already well-attuned to needs here - the faith community.

Here's a fresh example:

Earlier this month, representatives from two Charlotte churches met with officials from A Child's Place and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. On the agenda of this emergency meeting: What to do about Charlotte kids going hungry in the summer?

"The concern was that with a lot of kids getting most of their nutrition through the school system, what's going to happen when school isn't in session?" said Bob Breed, associate pastor of outreach at Myers Park Presbyterian Church.

Breed, along with Bill Jeffries of Providence United Methodist, decided to hold a food drive with other churches in the community. Those include: Myers Park United Methodist, Christ Episcopal, Little Church on the Lane, Covenant Presbyterian, Myers Park Baptist and St. Mark’s Lutheran.

People can donate non-perishables from June 22-July 27 at any of these churches on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The group is working out how best to distribute the donated food. Providence United Methodist will use it for free dinners it's hosting on Wednesday and Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. at St. John's Methodist on Monroe Road. Breed also is working with other churches and community centers (call him at 704-376-3695 if your church is interested.)

"We're just getting started with this," he says.

It is, he says, an effort prompted by need - and there's more of that in our city than agencies can address, especially with a shortfall in public and private support. Breed says churches are aware of the role they can play now - and the gaps they can fill - and he is hearing more from people who want to help, too.

"It tends to be contagious," he says. "Our hope is it will kind of get beyond the church, so that people will take up collections in their neighborhoods and at their neighborhood pools."

Let us know if you're doing just that.


Mominem said...

We'll be making waffles for our office tomorrow. It started out as just wanting to do something fun and enjoy the comradery. But so many people asked if we was accepting donations (for our expense) that we decided to offer a "tip jar" that folks can contribute money. The money collected will go to Second Harvest Food Bank.

People do want to help...they truly do...they just need the opportunity presented to them thats easy.