Here’s how you can help Charlotte area children and adults in need during COVID-19

Here’s how you can help Charlotte area children and adults in need during COVID-19
Man hopes to bring families together by bringing groceries to those who are avoiding the public during coronavirus pandemic. (Source: Joshua Komer | The Charlotte Observer)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (The Charlotte Observer) - Organizations large and small have announced ways they’re providing relief to local families in Charlotte and the surrounding area.

The Charlotte Observer has compiled this list, which will be updated over time, to help you learn how you can help. Philanthropy experts advise people looking to help their community direct monetary donations toward established nonprofit organizations.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is opening about 70 sites across the county to provide breakfast and lunch to students who rely on school for meals. For other forms of relief, a Charlotte-based fundraising effort through the United Way began March 16. The COVID-19 Response Fund will be overseen by the Foundation for the Carolinas.

Here are ways to help local organizations that are assisting those in need in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Organizations needing volunteers are encouraged to email jmarusak@charlotteobserver.com to request being added to this list.

SECOND HARVEST FOOD BANK OF METROLINA

The Food Bank on Spratt Street in Charlotte is working with its more than 800 partner agencies in 24 counties, including local school systems, to assess how it can best be of service.

The greatest need is money to buy healthy, shelf-stable items for food boxes, Food Bank officials said. The boxes will help feed families whose children are missing school meals, seniors being asked to stay at home, people who are quarantined and workers impacted by reduced work hours, Food Bank officials said.

“Within the next 30 days, we will be packing tens of thousands of these food boxes,” Food Bank officials posted on the Second Harvest website.

Volunteers also are needed. Register on the volunteer sign-up page at SecondHarvestMetrolina.org.

CMS FOUNDATION

The CMS Foundation, a non-profit that supports Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, has begun fundraising for district students and families affected by the closure of schools because of the novel coronavirus.

Donate at cms-foundation.org/donate with “Relief” in the notes section of the donation page.

Donations also can be mailed to the CMS Foundation, 4421 Stuart Andrew Blvd., Suite 100, Charlotte, NC 28217.

Anyone with questions can call 980-343-0399 or email info@cms-foundation.org.

SOUTH MECKLENBURG HIGH SCHOOL FOOD DRIVE

Drop donations off from 8 a.m. to noon. Pick up for pre-made meal bags is from noon to 2 p.m.

Location is Quail Hollow Presbyterian Church at 8801 Park Road, Charlotte.

The food drive is for the week of March 16. If donations keep coming in, volunteers will donate to local food banks.

FEED NC

Feed NC, formerly known as the Mooresville Soup Kitchen, welcomes volunteers to deliver meals to people who are home-bound.

Individuals, families and offices also are needed to donate specific toiletries for Blessing Bags given to FeedNC guests.

FeedNC also encourages residents to contact the organization if they know of people who are home-bound, isolated and in poverty who could use the free meal service.

Details: 704-660-9010; FeedNC.org.

BAGS OF HOPE

The Lake Norman location of the non-profit welcomes volunteers and donations as it distributes food at new drop-off spots, such as churches, for the families it serves.

On Monday, the group dropped off bags at 18 schools in northern Mecklenburg County.

“We’ve been unbelievably blown away by the amount of support and love shared within 72 hours,” Ashley Nydish, the non-profit’s president, told The Charlotte Observer.

To volunteer or donate, email BagsofHopeLKN@gmail.com.

COMMUNITY CAFÉ

Community Café needs more donations of cash and food as its food truck plans to be on the road more days during the coronavirus crisis, Mary Rasmussen, Community Café assistant to the president, said Tuesday.

The cafe, meanwhile, is serving only to-go meals at its locations to protect volunteers and clients from becoming infected, Rasmussen said.

“We are still open at all locations, and we are considering serving at more neighborhoods, based on the availability of volunteers,” she said in an email. “In order to do that, we need access to more food and more donors. Restaurant Depot’s shelves aren’t exactly full these days, just like your local Harris Teeter.”

Community Café is 100% volunteers and receives no government money.

“Everything goes right back to help those in need,” Rasmussen said. “We rely on corporations and private donors to keep our doors open. Right now we need your help more than ever.”

Donations can be made on the GoFundMe at www.gofundme.com/freemeals.

CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG COVID-19 RESPONSE FUND

The COVID-19 Response Fund will support nonprofits helping people most affected by the pandemic, according to the fund’s page on the Foundation for the Carolinas website. “Importantly, this fund will help not just help those who get sick but also those who are economically impacted,” according to the site.

The fund was launched March 16 thanks to a $1 million lead gift from LendingTree and a $1 million matching gift from the city of Charlotte. Howard Levine, former chairman/CEO of Family Dollar Stores, and Truist Financial Corp. also each donated $1 million.

Working closely with the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, grants will be awarded by an advisory group to nonprofits that apply. Applications will be announced soon.

People can donate to the fund online at HelpCharMeck.org. Or by mailing a check to COVID-19 Response Fund, c/o United Way of Central Carolinas/FFTC, P.O. Box 890685, Charlotte, NC 28289-0685.

Corporations and foundations that wish to donate may contact Catherine Warfield, senior vice president of philanthropic advancement at FFTC, at cwarfield@fftc.org; or Clint Hill, chief development officer at United Way of Central Carolinas, at 704-371-6359; chill@uwcentralcarolinas.org.

NOBLE FOOD & PURSUITS MEAL EFFORT

Noble Food & Pursuits, the restaurant group behind Rooster’s Wood-Fired Grill, Noble Smoke, Bossy Beulah’s, Copain and The King’s Kitchen, has shifted its focus from “food” to “pursuits” in an increased effort to feed the underserved and homeless in Charlotte amid COVID-19.

The group intends to give high-quality, well-balanced meals to those in need and requires an average $7 per meal to do so. Thanks to King’s Kitchen and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Dream Center, the group is already serving 600 such meals a day but hopes that increased donations will enable serving up to 2,000 meals a day.

Tax-deductible donations, which can be made online, will provide meals to children, teenagers, adults, families and the elderly.

Donate at http://cltdc.org/.

CHARLOTTE MUSEUM OF HISTORY

Charlotte Museum of History funding “will be critically impacted by this crisis, and we need your financial support while we continue to serve the community during these challenging times,” Adria Focht, president and CEO, said in an email to potential supporters.

The museum has closed to the public and suspended all public and private events until further notice “to support the health and safety of our visitors, staff, and volunteers,” Focht said.

Staff is working with local schools to offer new digital learning tools for students studying remotely, Focht said.

“In the coming days and weeks, we’ll be providing historic context to this pandemic via our digital platforms, to continue to help people understand the world in which we live,” according to Focht.

Staff also continue to preserve Mecklenburg County’s oldest homesite, Focht said.

Donate at CharlotteMuseum.org.