Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tax Volunteers Needed

Indian Trail, N.C. - Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, "The hardest thing in the world to understand is the Income Tax." Dr. Einstein may have theorized great things, but when it comes to taxes Common Heart had six volunteers last year who really knew their stuff.  

Common Heart is excited to be offering  free tax preparation services for the second year in a row in western Union County  VITA (Volunteers in Tax Assistance) is a  free tax preparation service provided by community organizations in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service.  "Our VITA site will bring this service to families in our community with household incomes under $50,000, " according to Keith Adams, Executive Director of Common Heart..

"As we expand our  hours in 2013 our goal  is to have at least ten volunteers," Keith continues.  "We are looking for key volunteers to make this happen." Volunteers will serve as greeters, tax preparers, and quality service reviewers. In addition a site manager is also needed. 

Volunteers come from many walks of life.  Some are current college students. Others are mom's who have been doing their family's taxes for years.  Others are CPA's and other trained professionals giving back to their community.

Training will be on January 8 - 10, 2013 from 5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. at South Piedmont Community College 4209 Old Charlotte Hwy, Monroe.  Volunteers will be trained and certified through the intermediate level, giving them the training needed to handle many of the tax situation that a family of low to moderate income would have.

Common Heart's VITA site will be open Saturdays, plus a weekday morning and evening beginning January 26 through April 15, 2013.  Once a volunteers are trained the hours of operation will be determined. This year's goal  is to assist 250 low to moderate income families.

This is a great opportunity for local college students or those seeking to build their resume. It is also a wonderful chance to make a difference to  families in the community. If you are interested please visit email

Friday, November 23, 2012

Volunteer Profile: Christa Riner

You may be familiar with Christa Riner’s smiling face or friendly voice if you have stopped by The Commonplace over the past year and a half. Since May of 2011, Christa has served as Executive Director Keith Adams’ administrative assistant, but that is not the only hat she wears. Helping out at Common Things Thrift Store and answering – or finding the answer to – any question that comes her way are just a few of the reasons Christa is an essential part of Common Heart’s small revolution of kindness.

Christa found Common Heart when the Monroe-based commodities program she previously volunteered for closed. After learning about Common Heart and its mission, she made the decision to continue serving here in Indian Trail. After a few conversations with Keith, the two found that Christa had the very skills Common Heart that had an immediate need looking for, and the rest is history.

After struggling to find work for some time, this opportunity was an answer to prayer. “It gave me a purpose again. I like helping people and working on the administrative side of things,” Christa said. “For me, it is a job,” she continued. “It has been an experience, a journey and a blessing.”

One of the experiences Christa values most is building valuable relationships. She recalls a fellow volunteer opening her eyes to a new perspective in the midst of a particularly difficult situation. “It was one of those moments when something kind of slaps you sideways,” explained Christa. Her new friend and fellow volunteer helped her overcome a tough situation through listening and fellowship.

That’s what it is all about – people helping people, neighbors becoming friends. “When you help others you often find that you are also helping yourself,” Christa said. “Besides, there is nothing better than the feeling you get after you help someone else without expecting anything in return.”

Monday, November 5, 2012

Road to Happiness

“We kept hitting roadblocks everywhere, so we brought everything to a stop and took time to pray, fast, and wait,” said Dana Hinson, Common Heart volunteer. This was the path that brought her to our organization. God put the passion for helping others on Dana’s heart several months before meeting Deborah Adams, Common Things Thrift Store shopkeeper, and hearing her story. “A friend and I had decided we wanted to open a thrift store to support a food pantry so we began creating. We got a 40+ page business plan, met with small business officials, and researched potential loan options and 501 contributors—but God had another plan,” Dana explained.

After talking to Deb, Dana knew what she was supposed to do. “God spoke openly to me that this was His plan. I was to serve,” she said.

Dana worked as a real estate broker for four years. “I was successful…and focused,” she said. Her life’s course took a sharp turn in the other direction, however, after several medical issues changed everything. “That forced me to look at where my priorities were and where my heart was. I left my business and came to know God in a personal way, and for that I could not be more grateful,” she said.

Dana has been serving Common Heart for about a year and shares her story of loss, gain and change with every person she comes into contact with. “But I think serving has affected me the most,” Dana said as she reflected on listening to the stories of the people she serves and serves with. “It really puts my situation in perspective! I have learned to let go of stereotypes and love people just as they are.”

“I know that I am blessed by service, not because of it,” she said. “I am so thankful to be a part of Common Heart’s small revolution of kindness.”

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Grassroots Approach to Helping Others

A popular business model is making its way into the nonprofit sector. It’s called micro-lending, and it is responsible for equipping individuals in third-world countries to develop small businesses that bring economic stability to entire communities. Common Heart is piggy-backing off this global concept to change lives right here in Indian Trail. We call it micro-giving. Through micro-giving, the generosity and compassion of many come together to meet the needs of one person or family.

Recently, Colin Albert posted the below need on his own Facebook page as well as Common Heart’s page. It was his third post asking friends and colleagues to open their hearts and extend a helping hand to a grandmother struggling to keep her extended family housed and fed. Colin has served this woman for some time now, and over the years a friendship formed.  When her need came to his attention, he reached out to Common Heart CONNECTS and five of his friends to answer it.

This is what micro-giving looks like. It has become an integral part of CONNECTS, and Facebook has proven to be an effective way to get the right services to those who need them. “Micro-giving is cool!,” said Keith Adams, executive director of Common Heart. “It gets people involved personally. You know what you are giving to and you know you are making a difference,” he explained.   

Keith shared another recent example of micro-giving: “I returned a call the other day from a new Common Heart friend with a specific need. She is on dialysis and asked if we could find her a refrigerator. Hers had just broken down. She had no money and four kids. Not having one to give, I told her we would see what we could do. Immediately after that call, I checked my phone and had a message from another friend wanting to know if we knew anyone needing a refrigerator! Talk about providence! God is pretty cool! The refrigerator was delivered that night by the friend who donated it!”

Paul reminds us in Acts 20:35 (NIV) “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”

Friday, August 24, 2012

Pay It Forward

We give for many reasons. To help others. As a reaction to social and political issues. To create change. The past decade’s Internet explosion and the avalanche of social media that continues to pick up speed have offered efficient and convenient ways to donate to charities from anywhere. Giving has definitely gotten easier.

But, there is more.

Kari Schnobrich, business control executive at Bank of America, shares how you can leverage your employers and multiply your gift. Kari is a dedicated Common Heart volunteer whose four years of involvement and giving have been maximized by her company. “Programs offered by your employer can up to double your donations to nonprofit organizations,” she explains. "My company, Bank of America, supports employees who give their time, service and money to causes important to them through Matching Gifts and Volunteer Grant programs." B of A matches the amount its employees give and offers grant money to organizations once employees complete a certain number of volunteer hours. “It's something many companies offer but that people may forget about later,” says Kari.

Do you work for or belong to an organization that offers matching gifts and/or community service grants? Ask your employer about its policy or get creative with fund-raising on your own. Here are a few ways to have fun while getting more bang for your buck:

·         Power in numbers – give your time and/or money as a group. Start a service project or set a financial goal with your coworkers, Bible study, friends and family.

·         Do what you love – turn a girl's night or football viewing party into a fundraiser. Cook dinner, provide the entertainment or stock the bar and ask guests to give $5 or $10 towards the charity you support.

·         Everyone loves a challenge – find sponsors the next time you run a 5K or participate in a long distance bike race to make going the extra mile beneficial for you and your charity of choice.

No matter which way you decide to give, remember to do so joyfully. Thank you for your continued support of Common Heart! To donate now, click here. For information about pledging, contact Keith at

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Host an Exchange Student

Got this from a friend of Common Heart.  Maybe you know someone who wants to host an exchange student.
Hi Keith,

This is Cheryl Stanley with Ciee, Council on International Exchange Education. I am a member of Triumphant Word Church, and brought my exchange students to help out at the cupboard for Thanksgiving one year

I wonder if you know anyone who would be able to host a student this year, or welcome one for 3-6 weeks until we can find a permanent family for them. If not, please forward this to your contacts. We still have a lot of students to place, and not much time to do so.
Founded in 1947, CIEE is a non-profit, organization specializing in international work and education. Our mission is “to help people gain understanding, acquire knowledge and develop skills for living in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world.” 
We are currently looking for families to host a high school exchange student for one or two semesters during the upcoming school year.  In return, host families can learn about another culture, enjoy lifelong friendships with students, fulfill the dream of a young person, be an ambassador for America, have a great experience, and much more.  

I am asking that you please forward this on to your contacts and ask them to forward it as well, so we can get the word out about this amazing experience. Ciee pays $50 referral to every family that you refer that ends of hosting.

Host Families:

·         Accept a student into their home as a “son or daughter”
·         Provide a bed and room (student can share a room with a host sibling of
The same gender within 4 years age difference)
·         Share 3 meals a day (if students choose to purchase school lunches it
·         is their responsibility)
·         Provide transportation to and from activities/school as needed
·         Claim a $50 per month deduction on their federal income taxes  


·         Are aged 15 to 18 (Grades 10-12)
·         Well screened
·         Speak English
·         Have their own spending money
·         Have full coverage health insurance

**   Here are some of our students that need a host family comittment this week so they can arrive in mid August:

CES12019 - Pai is a 15 year old boy from China. "I am outgoing and passionate. I love life and I am humorous. I always smile like sunshine." He enjoys traveling and camping with his family, playing basketball, swimming, playing piano, and making car models. He would like to play soccer during his exchange year GPA: 3.9 SLEP: 45 Allergies: Program Length: 10 months Arrival: Aug 2012
CTC12009- Tian Is a 16 year old boy from China. "Tian is a very sunny boy of 16 years old, he is healthy, happy, optimistic and helpful, he respects the older and protects the younger, he is the joy of my family." He likes to play Chinese chess and sing. He also likes to play basketball and swim. Here, he would like to join the basketball team and a drama club. He does not have any siblings. He does not have any pets but is ok to live with them. GPA: SLEP: 51. Program Length: 10 Months. Arrival Date: August 2012.
CBE12056 -Sharavanan is a 17-year-old boy from Germany.  "If my family, friends and teachers have to describe myself in three words, they would describe me as very patient, helpful and ambitious."  He loves to play basketball, and trains at the gym in his free time.  He enjoys music, and has started learning to play the guitar.  He also likes taking photos.  In the US, he would like to play American football or baseball, and be involved in a play.  He has a younger sister.  Diet: No beef for religious reasons.  GPA: 3.7. SLEP Score: 60.  Program Length: 10 months.  Arrival Date: August 2012. 8/15 orientation
CBE12043 -Phillipp is a 16 year old boy from Germany.  His mother says of him, "Philipp is a broad-minded, adorable boy.  He is very cooperative...and always very interested in experiencing and learning new things."  He describes himself as “friendly, cooperative, supportive, musical, and interested in diverse issues.”  Philipp has an older stepbrother, older sister, and twin brother.  He likes politics, listening to music, singing, playing the guitar, bowling, hiking, spending time with friends, and sports - especially soccer and Taekwondo (martial arts). He is excited to improve his English and experience the American school system, way of life, culture, tradition, and landscape.  Pets: No pets - allergies.  Allergies: Hayfever (trees, rye, grass, flowers). He is allergic to Animal hair (including rodents and birds).  PEX: Asthma GPA: 4.0.  SLEP Score: 42.  Program Length: 10 months.  Arrival Date: August 2012. 8/15 orientation
YES12022 -Rami is a 15-year-old boy from Gaza. "I'm an active person, easygoing, eager to learn without stopping, I love outdoors!" He loves to read, because as he says, reading "takes me to a world where I'm fully energetic, creative and in control!" He enjoys playing volleyball and basketball, and likes swimming and playing chess as well. His older sister is a CIEE YES student currently in the US. GPA 3.7. SLEP 64. Program Length 10 months. Arrival Date August 2012.

YES12031 -Hassan is a 15-year-old boy from Lebanon. "I'm an active, open minded, family oriented young boy with great self-confidence." He loves working with electronics and cars, and hopes to be either a mechanical or computer engineer when he is older. His favorite sports are soccer, badminton, and volleyball. In his spare time, he enjoys watching sports or movies, reading, and listening to music. He has two younger brothers. Religion: He is Muslim and attends services regularly. Diet: No pork. Allergies: Dogs, cats, dust, cold places. Pets: No dogs or cats. GPA 3.4. SLEP 59. Program Length 10 months. Arrival Date August 2012 

FUT12012 -Zhuoran, is a 15 year old girl from China. She enjoys jogging, gymnastics, hiking, playing the guitar, winter, singing, and traveling. She looks forward to learning how to play tennis and joining the drama club in the US. She is an only child. GPA: 4.0, SLEP: 46, Program Length: 10 months. Arrival Date: August 2012
FUT12015- Jingyi is a 16 year old girl from China. "I am an outgoing and optimistic person." She likes animals. She is interested in music and enjoys singing, dancing, and playing instruments. She plays the Zheng and guitar. She also enjoys reading, painting, photography, She is an only child. GPA: 4.0, SLEP: 47, Program Length: 10 months. Arrival Date: August 2012
CBE12048 -Sophie is a 16 year old girl from Germany.  Her English teacher says of her, "she is a very ambitious and aspiring student" who "displays great communication skills" and is "reliable, determined, mature, and motivated."  Sophie lives with her mother and has an older half brother that lives separately with her father.  She has two pet rabbits.  Sophie enjoys outdoor photography, drawing/painting, cooking, listening to music, dancing, swimming, jogging, volleyball, and soccer.  She would be interested in drama club, soccer, running, cheerleading, or hockey at her American school.  She is excited to improve her English and learn more about the American culture and people.  GPA: 3.8.  SLEP Score: 50.  Program Length: 10 months.  Arrival Date: August 2012. 8/15

CBE12035 -Layla is a 15 year old girl from Germany. Her mother says of her, "She is very responsible and self-reliant...But she is also full of life and enjoys many activities. All of us like music and dancing." Layla enjoys singing, playing flute, dance (ballet and ballroom), and other musical pursuits. She also likes shopping, reading, movies, ice skating, and spending time with friends. She would be interested in joining drama club, choir, and maybe cheerleading at her American high school. She has a younger sister. Layla is excited to make new friends, get to know American culture and traditions, and share her German culture. Allergies: Certain raw fruits and vegetables, some pollen, cats. Diet: Allergic to some fruits and vegetables. Usually doesn't eat pork. Pets: Allergic to cats - only okay if they live outdoors. She is very afraid of reptiles. GPA: 4.0. SLEP Score: 56. Program Length: 10 months. Arrival Date: August 2012DPOK. 8/15 orientation
FLX12001LP - Aigerim is a 17 year old girl from Kyrgyzstan. "I'm friendly and sociable." She loves animals and has one cat and 3 kittens. She enjoys reading horror books and studying different languages. She has one sister and one brother. She would like to learn how to swim during her time abroad.  GPA: 3.6 SLEP: 50 Program Length: 10 months Arrival: August 2012.
FLX12011-Anna is a 15-year-old girl from Russia.  "I know her as a very talented and kind girl.  She is open and responsible.  Ann is ambitious, intelligent, helpful and creative."  Her favorite sport is swimming, but recently she has been focusing more on her photography and art.  She likes going ice skating with her friends, visiting museums, and volunteering in her community.  She loves to visit her grandparents and go fishing with them or cook a meal.  In the future, she wants to become an international journalist, so she works hard learning new languages to help her reach this goal.  She is an only child.  GPA 3.9.

SAM12005- Marija is a 17 year old girl from Serbia. She says of herself, "I'm friendly and communicative person so I hope that I will get friendly with a lot of people in America." Marija enjoys school activities, music and movies, travel, and reading. She is passionate about acting and hopes that she will have the opportunity to show her new host family her talent and participate in drama activities in school in the U.S. Marija lives with her parents, grandmother, older brother, and brother's fiancé. She says they are a "big and happy family" and enjoy spending time together watching TV, playing cards, having meals, or doing housework. Marija is excited to see America and meet people from different cultures and is looking forward to teaching her host family and others about her home country and Serbian customs. GPA: 3.94. SLEP Test: 51. Program Length: 10 months. Arrival Date: August 2012. Religion: She is an Orthodox Christian and indicated that she needs a special place for prayer. Diet: No meat or dairy on Wednesday or Friday. Pets: Allergic to animal hair and feathers. Allergies: Animal hair, feathers, pollen, possibly medication - unclear on health form. PEX: Abnormality of nose or throat, lungs, heart, and thyroid. See health form for details, but student will require monitoring by cardiologist, endocrinologist while in U.S.

For more information about becoming a host family, here's a link to our host family web site. When you get ready to fill out an application, please click on the following link 

**Please reference, Local Coordinator Cheryl Stanley as to how you heard about our program and call at 704-668-8125 for more information, and to let me know if you filled out an application.


Cheryl Stanley
Ciee Council on International Educational Exchange 
Local Coordinator
Open your home and your an International exchange student

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Meeting the Ongoing Challenge

Common Cupboard has been facing a regular shortage of can goods. In the past we have gotten most of these through Second Harvest.  However during the past several months we have seen a significant drop in the availability of the kinds of food that we need. Last year we experienced this just during June and July.  We have been in this drought of can goods from Second Harvest for at least 3 months so far and it shows no sign of letting up. 

We are looking for new resources for these kinds of items.  We need your help to meet this need.  We have a plan to address this long term, but it requires 3 families to step up and be willing to organize volunteers for one day food drives at local grocery stores once per quarter. 

Can you help in one of 3 ways? – (1) Ask your friends for groceries and bring them down to the cupboard. This will help us with our immediate need.  (2) Would your family or small group step up to organize a day long food drive once a quarter? Or (3) can you give to our virtual food drive by clicking here. You can even chose to automatically give every month if you chose.

Thank you for your help. 

Commonplace Growth Spurt

“Ever since Common Cupboard began we often talked about starting a thrift store to help maintain and increase our efforts,” said Debra Adams, Common Things Thrift Store Shop Keeper. And in May 2011, this idea came to fruition at 116 Business Park Drive in Indian Trail, N.C. “The front of the building was perfect for the store, and the warehouse in the back became the Cupboard’s processing and donation area. We started with just a handful of volunteers.” Deb knew they would need more volunteers and ongoing donations, and her prayer was answered, fast!

“The donations came in quicker than we had room for so we were continually adding more shelving, clothing rods, tables and bins,” said Deb, “[but] the store went from eclectic to cluttered.” She knew it was time for a change when she noticed a difference in the customers’ shopping experience. Not to mention that Keith Adams, executive director, was still housing his office and running Common Cupboard under the same roof. Needless to say, it was a huge blessing when the space adjacent to The Commonplace became available.

Staff and volunteers are already enjoying the extra leg room. The 700 square feet of new office space is backed by Bill’s Garage (formerly the “Man Cave”) and a processing area totaling 1100 square feet for the store. A renovated Common Things Thrift Store – which now totals 2200 square feet full of brand new merchandise – takes up the preexisting area. Common Cupboard’s 1100 square foot warehouse stayed put

 “The biggest advantage to me personally was the desperately needed processing space.  We had been tightly squeezed into an area that was not designed for sorting, cleaning or pricing, and we had to constantly shuffle items back and forth every Thursday and Friday to accommodate the functions of the Cupboard,” Deb said. This was costing the nonprofit many valuable man hours. “None of this is possible without our wonderfully talented, hard-working volunteers. We are so thankful to them for all they do.”

While there are still installations and other work to be done, the new space it already making a big difference. Volunteers and donations of gently used items are always needed. The store is open Wednesday – Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and sells everything from common things – like books, tools and clothing – to antiques and treasures. To help at Common Things Thrift Store, contact Deb at

This is just one of many exciting things happening at Common Heart over the next year, so stay tuned!

Monday, July 23, 2012

A New Face

Have you noticed the new face popping up around The Commonplace? You may have seen him while Keith, Deb and others moved Common Heart’s offices into its new space and reorganized Common Things Thrift Store. Or maybe you noticed him adding fresh produce to grocery bags full of government commodities at the JB ACTS food pantry. He even makes occasional trips to the North Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, businesses and individuals’ homes to pick up donations. And that was just his first month on the job!

So, who is this busy guy? Joshua Hoke, our summer intern. Joshua is a senior at Western Carolina University majoring in psychology who was recruited primarily to help develop Common Heart CONNECTS, the branch of Common Heart that provides information and resources about nonprofits and government organizations to community members in need of vital services.

“At first I was reluctant to start because this job because it has more of a social work aspect,” Joshua admits. His experience, however, has been priceless. As a trained benefits counselor, Joshua has been able to help underprivileged residents of Union County in a huge way.

“If anyone who comes into our food pantry on Tuesdays needs food stamps, I am able to…do a quick check to see if they are eligible for receiving that type of aid,” he said. Benefits counselors like Joshua help simplify the process of applying for government programs, cut out long lines at Social Services and foster personal relationships. “When people come to me, it's a one-on-one basis…I can find out if they need any other help and set them up with potential resources if needed.”

This past year, Common Heart CONNECTS has been in its developmental stages. Our VITA tax preparation program, which was a success completing 45 tax returns for households earning less than $50,000 annually, is just one part of CONNECTS. In 2013, Common Heart will fully launch its benefits counselor services. Get involved by contacting Keith at

Friday, May 25, 2012

Calling all painters, carpenters, handymen and volunteers, The Commonplace is Expanding!!!

A year ago we moved The Commonplace to its new location at 116 Business Park Dr.  We had no idea that a year later we would be busting out the seems.  Thirteen months ago we inhabited 900 square feet, a small shed and a 45foot semi trailer.  Today we have 2500 square feet for an office, Thrift Store and Cupboard, plus the 45 & a 28 foot trailer, plus we have 2000 square feet warehouse space,  a computer room and a pantry storage space off site in opposite directions!  And it is not enough room!

Well, the news is that on June 1st we will be expanding into the suite next door giving us over 5,000 square feet.  This is great news!  The Cupboard and Common Things will no longer be sharing warehouse space. Common Things will have its own processing warehouse, and expanded floor space for the store.  We will be able to bring the computer room to The Commonplace, and provide needed space for Common Heart CONNECTS to operate.

Our open house for The (new expanded) Commonplace will be during The Commonplace Festival on June 30.  But right now we need a lot of help to get the space up and running. There is a list of projects we have to do starting June 1.

Cleaning, spackling, painting .. to start right away. Insulating , electrical, plumbing work too.  Also putting in 3 doors, and building a room in the warehouse.  Both volunteers and supplies are needed.  Can you help?  Contact us at

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Training for CONNECTS Counsellors

Training for Common Heart CONNECTS counselors will be May 18th.  The initial training is in how to access The Benefit Bank program.  Have an interest in helping families find needed resources?

Benefit Bank Counselor training will be on May 18th 2012 from 10am to 3pm. Common Heart will be gearing up this aspect of our work this summer.  I f you would like to be trained to help families access Government benefit programs and other services available in the area, this is an opportunity for you to train and serve.
We will only train on Benefits/FAFSA (college financial aid), therefore training will only last for about 4 hours.  Please contact to participate the in training .If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact Keith. I look forward to hearing from you. Have a great day!
Training Location:
Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont
2122 Freedom Drive (Job Connection Center)
Charlotte, NC 28208

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Volunteer Profile: Elise

“I like helping people because I know they need help…[besides] making people happy makes me happy!” Introduce yourself to Elise, a woman who will surely remind you of your favorite aunt. Her smile has been greeting customers who walk into Common Things Thrift Store since last July. Recently, she started volunteering at JB ACTS on Tuesday evenings.

Elise caught wind of Common Heart while she was searching for a job. Finding nothing, she decided to start volunteering. Like 10 percent of Union County’s population, Elise is unemployed. Unlike that 10 percent, she is not discouraged. And she wants to give back.

“A lot of people need help, and I don’t mind. I love doing what I do,” she explained.

Elise occasionally receives groceries from Common Cupboard after she volunteers, and that is what it is all about – friends and neighbors uniting to help each other, to give and receive and to build relationships.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Volunteer Profile: Olga

Meet Olga – wife, mother of three, avid church-goer, Union County resident of 10 years, and Common Heart volunteer of four years. Sound normal? She is anything but.

Five years ago, her family’s home burned to the ground. Now, her husband works as a mechanic and their two oldest children work at the Hilton hotel to pay for classes at CPCC. Olga has been unable to find work with the exception of occasional odd jobs. They don’t make much.

Why would a family without extra resources regularly volunteer at a food pantry? “[After the fire] we were left with nothing. We understand what it feels like to have nothing,” Olga explained.

Empathy and compassion brought Olga and her family to Common Heart after hearing about the organization in church and on the radio. They began delivering groceries, clothing and furniture to other Spanish families in the area through Common Cupboard.

But she and her family did more than make deliveries. They stayed and talked. They formed bonds that have blossomed into lasting friendships.

Olga said that volunteering is not only for the people on the receiving end. “It caused our family to work together. It was good for my children who now work with poor people in college,” she said. “We are thankful for Keith and Deb for giving us the opportunity to serve because it is for God.”

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Five Things You Didn't Know About Coupons

“My Hobby became my obsession,” admits Angela Parks, or Angie, during Common Heart’s April 26 coupon class at June Bugs Childcare Development Center. Dana Hinson, who has been couponing with Angie for three years, jokingly nods her head in agreement.  The two friends taught participants how to get the most out of sales, coupons and rebates. To Angie and Dana, however, couponing is much more than just saving money. They stressed the importance of giving back to those in need – family members, neighbors, food pantries, or even the stranger checking out in front of you at the grocery store. “God will bless you back 10,000 times for any one little thing you do,” Dana said as she told the class about the relationships she has built through couponing. Angie always includes hygiene products and laundry detergent with her food pantry donations. “Pantries don’t get enough of those items…and I never donate food that I wouldn’t feed my family,” said Angie. Dana added, “That’s not the Christian way to do it.”

Among the wealth of information these coupon divas shared last month were these five takeaways:

·         Daily double - Harris Teeter, Lowe’s Food and Bi-Lo double coupons up to .99 cents every day.

·         Freebies! - companies send coupons and free samples when you comment on products you like, contact them, or subscribe to their e-mail list. 

·         Simple math - a buy one get one free in-store promotion plus a buy one get one free manufacture’s coupon equals two items for free!

·         Swipe and save - Harris Teeter offers extra savings loaded directly onto your VIC card through their e-VIC program.

·         It pays to be green - Target, Lowe’s Food and Bi-Lo take an extra .05 cents off your total for every recyclable bag you use.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Kindness Defined and or Explained

by Chuck Wall, Ph.D.
An act that positively influences the life of both the giver and the receiver is a kindness. It doesn't have to cost money or be difficult to perform. It can be spontaneous (random) or premeditated. It can be as simple as a smile or a thank you, and as complicated as starting a non-profit organization to benefit those in need.
Kindness has four working parts: dignity, respect, compassion, and humility, If you have all of these things for yourself, then you will be able to share them with others. If we reach out with dignity, respect, compassion, and humility, we are likely to feel it being returned.

Actively seeking out opportunities to assist others will naturally bring a certain amount of warmth and feeling of self-worth to each of us. It feels good to help others and others feel good knowing someone wants them to help.
"Considerate" and "helpful" are words often used to describe a kind deed.
Kindness is what you define it as, rather than what someone else thinks you should believe it is.
I suggest all people actively attempt to live by my phrase, "Today I will commit one random act of senseless kindness. Will You?"

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Who is this guy?

Who is this guy?

His name is Alan Shawn Feinstein 
and He is giving away

Alan Shawn Feinstein

Three ways to help Common Cupboard
get more of Mr. Feinstein’s money!
Food –raise – The more food donated …
$$ Donations – The more finances donated …
Pledge – The more money pledged ….