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.”