Meals are often the choice between favorite recipes not how or if we can get the groceries to eat, but during this COVID-19 pandemic, grocery shopping, meal planning, and online pre-ordering is taking more forethought and planning. However, for 182,000 children and 45,000 seniors living in poverty in Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina’s service region, food always takes more forethought as they rely on food banks to eat and now more so than ever.
Friendship Trays has been delivering nutritious meals to elderly and infirm individuals in the Charlotte area for more than 40 years. Friendship Trays clients face isolation and concern over access to food each and every day. The irony of today’s situation is that so many of us are suddenly facing those very fears, perhaps for the first time ever.
According to Lucy Bush Carter, Executive Director of Friendship Trays, “a big part of what we do is providing nourishment for the body and soul of our clients. The food is important, but we are also providing human connection.”
In just a matter of weeks, COVID-19 has turned our world upside down, shutting down any place where large groups of people would normally gather - including restaurants, concerts, performing arts, and fundraising events. For our local nonprofits, COVID-19 has forced dramatic change in order to continue serving the local community.
In a time of crisis, we are often reminded that as long as our basic human needs are being met, in the end, we will be OK.
But here is the issue - food, water, shelter and clothing are not always guarenteed. With the current crisis our world is facing, the resources that many of our most vulnerable neighbors rely on for access to food have been disrupted and compromised, making hunger a more urgent need than ever in our community.
In the fall, Foster Village Charlotte opened up a one-of-a kind home-like resource center in the Oakhurst Neighborhood thanks to the generosity of individual donors and the seed money they won being a part of SEED20 through Social Ventures Partners. But why a resource center? What's so important about a physical location?
Well, imagine you are a child that has been taken out of the only home and family you’ve ever known. Even though you are already experiencing toxic stress, being placed somewhere new adds additional levels of trauma. You find yourself without a familiar face, in an unknown setting, without a single belonging.
Elon Homes of North Carolina is a local nonprofit that has been serving North Carolina’s at-risk children for 105 years and has a rich and proud heritage in the field of child development and services. They care for young people from a variety of backgrounds and with a wide range of needs, strengths, opportunities and dreams and their foster care program specializes in keeping sibling groups together in the same home. Read Susan's story below to see the positive impact Elon Homes has on the lives of the youth they serve.
Before Becoming a Resident at the Foster Care Village:
Rarely does Thompson’s foster care team have a day that is uneventful. When your job entails children and their well-being-especially their long-term outcomes, day-to-day experiences are going to be challenging and have an effect at the end of the day.
Jen Stout, Director of Family Support Services (Foster Care) at Thompson, shared a recent experience that stopped me in my tracks. Her account of a biological mom who signed her rights away to her children immediately touched my heart when I read it. Jen expressed in her post that the mother reflected on the choices she made that resulted in her inability to care for her children. And the day had come when her kids would become part of a brand new family.
When Branson first arrived at Carolina Family Connections (CFC), he was a shy and scrawny 14 year old, just a month away from turning 15. But birthdays had never been a special day for Branson.
Never had a cake. Never had a party. And never had a birthday present. When the staff at CFC learned that he had never celebrated a birthday, they wanted to make sure it was extra special. While the foster parents planned his birthday party, the staff at CFC stepped in to take it the extra mile. Knowing he enjoyed watching BMX bike events, they surprised him with a new BMX bike of his own on his birthday.
But because Branson had suffered from neglect and abuse for most of his young life, he had a hard time accepting the attention, much less a gift, feeling that he was unworthy of all that he was being given.
Often times victims of abuse or neglect, children in foster care can have a damaged sense of self worth and require special support and nurturing throughout their foster care journey. This month, we are shining our #SpotlightOnCLT on our local nonprofit partners that support both the vulnerable children in the foster care system as well as the individuals and families who take them into their care.
What exactly is foster care?
Foster care is a temporary placement provided by the State to provide children who, for various reasons, cannot live at-home with their parents. Children in foster care can be placed to live in residential settings, including relative and nonrelative homes, as well as group homes, and institutions.
Meet Charlie. He's only five, but he's already a three-year cancer survivor. Charlie was born with Down Syndrome and Transient myeloproliferative disorder, which transitioned into leukemia when he was 16 months old. When other babies were experiencing crucial brain, physical, and social development, Charlie was undergoing high-dose chemotherapy, long-term hospitalization, and isolation. As a result, Charlie experienced physical regression and delays in his motor skills.
We have so much great news to share from our nonprofit partners about their amazing work. But, we'd love to hear from you. Let us know if you have stories you'd like to tell and we'll make you a guest blogger!!