Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Holding hands, connecting hearts

Our friends at Extreme Ice Center in Indian Trail know the meaning of giving back! Just before Christmas, they entered Common Heart into a tree-decorating contest sponsored by THE SALES OFFICE Inc., and guess what ... WE WON!                            

Not only did we get the big $1,000 cash prize, but Extreme Ice decided to match that donation AND sell the heart decorations they used on the tree to raise extra money for us. That brings the grand donation total to $2,500!  WOW!  Thanks to this generosity, 100 local families in need will receive a week's worth of groceries -- that's everything from nonperishable staples like soup and peanut butter, to fresh produce, meat and bread. 
Thanks Extreme Ice & THE SALES OFFICE! 

Here's what K.C. Harrill, Extreme Ice Marketing & Public Relations Director, had to say at the check presentation last week:                  

At the beginning of November, Sandra, a representative of THE SALES OFFICE, Inc. representing 10 hotels, came to Extreme Ice Center with their Christmas gift, a big white umbrella and a challenge. The challenge was what they called #1000reasonstogive. The #1000reasonstogive campaign asked participants to create Christmas displays representing a local non-profit of their choice. Instantly, I knew what charity I thought we should represent, but since this was going to be a joint effort of Extreme Ice Center, I wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page. I asked our manager, Maureen Mulhall, and before I had even finished explaining the contest, she said COMMON HEART with enough enthusiasm that could be heard throughout our lobby. With that being said, we were definitely all on the same page and then vowed that if we won, our earnings would go to them. Fast forward a few weeks and we still had not created our display as nothing we came up had seemed efficient to adequately represent the important impact Common Heart has had on our community. Cue the always reliable, IKEA. On a shopping trip, Moe found pillow hearts with Velcro hands in two different sizes. This was it. This was the representation we were looking for: hearts connected by outreaching hands. With help from our Junior Hockey Team, the Charlotte Rush, Extreme Ice Center customers, and staff, our garland of hearts came together and our display took form. On the day of our “photoshoot,” we had two special guests, one of our “rink babies,” Lilly, and a sweet puppy belonging to a skating family that happened to be visiting us that day. These two guests brought our display together by representing everyone that can benefit through the outreach of Common Heart.
After sizing up our competition on THE SALES OFFICE, Inc Facebook page, we knew it was going to be a very tight match. The next day, Moe and Tess were caught very off guard by THE SALES OFFICE, Inc. team representing who surprised us with the $1,000 cash grand prize of the #1000reasonstogive campaign voted on by DJ Stout Operations Manager/Program Director at WSOC/WFNZ. The immediate emotions of shock, excitement, and gratitude were very overwhelming for all of us, as we knew how much this contribution would benefit Common Heart.
Common Heart has a very clear vision: encouraging a small revolution of kindness. They do this through their many branches: Common Cupboard (a food pantry), Common Thrift (a thrift store), TheCommonplace (a community center), and ServingU (a university for kindness). Their incredible staff works around the clock to make sure everyone has what they need day in and day out. If you look on their Facebook page, you will see a slew of praise and gratitude from the families they support. For what they do for our community, we are incredibly thankful… which is why as a business, we have decided to double our winnings from #1000reasonstogive as well as donate all sales from the pillow hearts that once decorated our display. This evening, Common Heart will receive $2,500, which we have learned, will feed over 80 families this holiday season.
We would like to thank THE SALES OFFICE, Inc. and its portfolio of hotels Holiday Inn Express & Suites Hotels Matthews, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Kannapolis, Four Points by Sheraton Charlotte Pineville, Four Points by Sheraton Raleigh Durham Airport, Wingate by Wyndham Charlotte Airport I85-I485, Comfort Inn & Suites Kannapolis, Comfort Inn Lincolnton, Quality Inn & Suites Matthews, Quality Inn Fort Mill and Best Western Gastonia. for putting us up to this challenge, the representatives of Indian Trail for their support tonight, and Common Heart for their determination and passion for serving our community.

www.commonheart.org – non profit donation recipient
www.xicenter.com – #1000reasontogive $1000.oo winner/contributor

www.THE-SALESOFFICE.com – hotels sales team   

Friday, December 11, 2015

Kindness Connects!

Kindness connects people, doesn't it?
It doesn't take much to show a little kindness. And yet a little kindness can go a long way!

By now you've probably heard our motto of "Encouraging a Small Revolution of Kindness." We're taking that mantra a little further in 2016 by choosing the theme: Kindness Connects.

If you've been around Common Heart for a while, you've probably heard us talk about our CONNECTS program. The vision is that our nonprofit can serve as a connecting point in our community. Connecting neighbors in need to resources and connecting those individuals, churches etc. who have a heart for service with ways they can help.

Part of the CONNECTS vision is to organize a cooperative effort of local churches to embody the command to love our neighbors, especially those who experience poverty, disability, homelessness, unemployment, and crisis  We're having a meeting Jan. 12 with local church leaders who are interested in becoming a part of this endeavor.

We'll also need several volunteers eager to help us organize and administer the endeavor to expand this small revolution of kindness through the Kindness Connects vision this year.

If you're interested, email Keith Adams at Keith@CommonHeart.org or call 704-218-9060.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

'Tis the season for food drives

As we approach the end of the year and look forward to 2016, we're hopeful the New Year includes food drives.

While many people take a break after the holidays, hunger doesn't and we need the community's help to keep our shelves stocked year-round. We're so thankful for the drives we've benefited from recently.                                                      

Central Academy at Lake Park's Beta Club collected 1,200 pounds of food (Wow!) and Edifice Inc. is hosting a drive through Dec. 18 for the Cupboard.            

If your business, church, neighborhood etc. registers a food drive with us, we'll even help you promote it! 
Visit: http://commonheart.org/get-involved/food-drives

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Keeping our neighbors warm this winter

We've been chosen as a participating agency for Duke Energy's Share the Warmth program. That means that we'll soon be able to help low income families pay for their heating bills! 
Applications aren't ready yet, so stay tuned if you know someone who could use this help. 
A little background on Share the Warmth: The program started in 1985 and since then has provided more $33 million in heating bill assistance. More than 80 agencies within the Duke Energy service territory in the Carolinas assist in the distribution of the funds.
When our portion of this is up and running, we'll be one of only 2 agencies in Union County participating in the program!  
Funding for Share the Warmth comes from Duke Energy customers, employees and the Duke Energy Foundation. In November, Duke Energy customers receive a bill insert about the STW program. The Duke Energy Foundation will match up to $500,000 in customer contributions during the heating season.

Monday, November 30, 2015

1,000 turkeys for 1,000 families!

Thanksgiving may be over, but here at Common Heart we can't help but feel so thankful for the amazing generosity our community showed this Thanksgiving!  

We reached our Great Turkey Countdown goal of providing 1,000 turkey meals for 1,000 local families in need! How did we do it?

  • 273 individual donors, families and businesses collected cash and/or Thanksgiving meal items 
  • 250 volunteers packing meals for families (including several large groups from: Elevation Church; Boy Scout Troop 151 in Lake Park; and the Parkwood JV & Varsity basketball teams). 
  • 175 driver teams taking the meals to our families in need 

THANK YOU to everyone who helped us make this year's 
Great Turkey Countdown 
a great success! 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Love in Action Fundraising a big success!

About 350 people gathered at Weddington United Methodist Church Friday, Oct. 23 for Common Heart's 7th annual Love in Action Fundraising Banquet.

This year's banquet also featured a buffet with food donated by more than 20 local restaurants, a variety show and silent auction.                            

This year's Love in Action honorees were:

  • The Mary & Martha Sunday School Class, from the First Baptist Church of Indian Trail, also was honored as the Partner of the Year.
  • Love in Action Awards were presented to Common Heart's volunteers of the year:
  • Connie Lightner, of Indian Trail, was named Common Heart Volunteer of the Year
  • Deb Adams, of Weddington, was named Common Things Volunteer of the Year
  • Rick Hepner, of Mint Hill, was named Common Cupboard Volunteer of the Year

The final numbers are in and our 7th annual Love in Action Fundraising Banquet raised $26,582.83 for local hungry families –that's $1,582.83 MORE than this year's goal!  THANK YOU!

More than $15,000 of that amount was raised by Common Heart Booster Teams – local supporters, who gathered as teams to collect donations for Common Heart in the weeks leading up to the banquet. Boosters shared Common Heart’s story and asked folks to donate using social media, text, email and face-to-face interactions with family, friends, coworkers etc. as well as an online mobile app for collecting and tracking donations.  These folks did an amazing job! Thank you!!

Booster Campaign Results by team:
1st Place: $2,407.83 Elevation (Bill & Wendy Ulrich, Paul and Christina Sanders, and Jane Hutchko)
2nd Place: $2,285 Common Things Thrift Store (Connie Lightner, Dana Hinson, and Debra Adams)
3rd Place: $2,240 Care Bears (Fournier Family and Friends) The students did some exceptional food drive work in their elementary school, too!
4th Place: $1,960 Board of Directors (Darren Greene, Joy Odom, Cheri Bankhead, Traci Dawson, Kate Simon, and Johanna Miller)
5th Place: $1,550  Bankhead/Bennett Friends and Family (Rick and Katie Gooding, Ben Jackson, Tyler Furr, Victoria Bennett, Raleigh Bankhead)
6th Place: $1,435  Common Cupboard Drivers (Robert and Michelle Tossas, John Plack, and Ken Holloway)

Free tax service

Love preparing income taxes? Willing to learn?  We need you!

We're seeking volunteers to be trained to provide free income tax preparation for local residents.

This is the fifth year Common Heart has offered free tax services, which are completed by trained and certified volunteers as part of the national Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, program. Individuals and families with annual incomes of $52,000 or less are eligible for the free assistance.

In 2015, our volunteers filed 279 income tax returns -- 121 more than last year. The service saved residents an estimated $65,000 in tax preparation fees and got them more than $360,000 in total refunds.                                                  

Our free tax service helps take the stress out of tax time and allows our hard-working neighbors to use the money they save on tax preparation fees for other needs, like food, rent or medical bills. We serve people from all walks of life – college students, teachers, hair stylists, retail staff, local government employees and retirees.

Free training will be held Dec.7-10 from 6-9 p.m. at South Piedmont Community College in Monroe, with a certification lab in January. 

For more information about the program, visit http://CommonHeart.org.
To volunteer to become trained for the program, email Susan.Ochs@CommonHeart.org.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

1,000 hungry families!

Calling all turkeys! We need help to provide 1,000 frozen turkeys with all the fixin's to 1,000 local families in need so they can prepare their own Thanksgiving feasts.

That's right ... our Great Turkey Countdown is here!     

You can drop off frozen turkeys and other related nonperishables like canned fruits and vegetables, boxed potatoes, stuffing mix, gravy etc., at our Common Things Thrift Store, 321 Indian Trail Road North, Indian Trail, Tues.-Sat. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you have a lot to donate and/or 10 or more turkeys to donate, email CommonHeart@CommonHeart.org to make an appointment for drop off at our Common Cupboard food pantry.

Cash donations are also needed! Every $20 raised buys a turkey and some of the fixin's. To donate online, visit http://Turkeys.CommonHeart.org.

And don't forget about volunteering! Hundreds of volunteers will be needed at our Common Cupboard food pantry, on Saturday, Nov. 21 from 6:30 a.m. to Noon to pack and deliver the 1,000 Thanksgiving dinner baskets. Sign up online at http://Turkeys.CommonHeart.org.

The baskets will benefit families throughout Union County, southeast Charlotte, Matthews and Mint Hill.

This all-hands-on-deck volunteer event is the Cupboard's biggest delivery day. Seven years ago, when we started, we gave away just over 100 Thanksgiving baskets. Last year – thanks to the community's generosity – we surpassed our goal and delivered 840 baskets to local families in need. This year, we hope that we can serve at least 1,000 families. 

The Countdown started in 2007. Today, the tradition continues at Facebook.com/TheCommonHeart.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Just $250 short!

Our 7th annual Love in Action Fundraising Banquet raised $24,750 for local hungry families – just $250 short of this year's goal!   

Over half of that amount was raised by Common Heart Booster Teams – local supporters, who gathered as teams to collect donations for Common Heart in the weeks leading up to the banquet. Boosters shared Common Heart’s story and asked folks to donate using social media, text, email and face-to-face interactions with family, friends, coworkers etc. as well as an online mobile app for collecting and tracking donations.  (If you can help us reach our goal, visit CommonHeart.org).

About 350 of our friends gathered at Weddington United Methodist Church Friday, Oct. 23 for the banquet which featured a buffet with food donated by more than 20 local restaurants, a variety show and silent auction.
Love in Action Awards were presented to Common Heart's volunteers of the year:
  • Connie Lightner, of Indian Trail, was named Common Heart Volunteer of the Year
  • Deb Adams, of Weddington, was named Common Things Volunteer of the Year
  • Rick Hepner, of Mint Hill, was named Common Cupboard Volunteer of the Year

The Mary & Martha Sunday School Class, from the First Baptist Church of Indian Trail, also was honored as the Partner of the Year. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Gleaner's Market Friday 10/30

Pass the word.

Announcing our next Gleaner's Market this Friday October 30 from 11 am - 12:30 pm.  This outdoor "market" is an experiment for Common Heart. At least four times a year we have an abundance of food that we need to give out and we can not do it through out normal channels.  So, we decided to try our own version of a farmer's market. 

We will have fresh vegetables, fruit, and baked goods such as bread, cakes and cookies. There is no cost.  All participants will need to fill out an application and will need to either receive food stamps (SNAP) or make less than 200% of the federal poverty level.  Here is a link to the 200% FPL standard. We also ask that your family currently have a need for groceries so that everyone who has a need can get what they need. 
All households wishing to participate should begin arriving at 10:30 am (please, no earlier). The location is our community resource center, The Commonplace. 116 Business Park Dr, Suite A, Indian Trail, NC 28079.   If you have questions or would like more information you can contact us at CommonHeart@TheCommonplace.org or 704-218-9060.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Fall is for food drives!

As we approach Thanksgiving and remember everything we have to be thankful for, it's the perfect time to host a food drive for Common Cupboard! 

We're especially excited to see all the local students who are getting involved in feeding hungry local families. Without even realizing it, some of these students may be collecting food that will fill the bellies of their classmates when supplies run low at home. 

This week at Sun Valley Elementary School, several young ladies who call themselves "The Care Bears," kicked off a school-wide food drive for the Cupboard. And judging by the photo at the end of Day 2, we think they're doing an AWESOME JOB!     
Sun Valley Elementary School Food Drive for the Common
Cupboard. Day 2

These young ladies were part of our Booster Team for last week's Love in Action Fundraising Banquet, raising more than $1,000. WOW! That's enough for us to provide a week's worth of groceries to 40 hungry families! 

From Nov. 9 to 20, Central Academy at Lake Park's Beta Club will host a food drive for us (again!)  as we get ready to bless 1,000 local families with everything they need to make their own Thanksgiving feasts. You can drop off nonperishable food donations at the school, 3624 Lake Park Road, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. We especially need canned corn and green beans, stuffing and mashed potato mixes, gravy and cranberry sauce.   

Ready to organize a food drive in your neighborhood, workplace, church etc.? 
We can even help you promote it by registering your drive with us!  Visit:

Monday, October 19, 2015

Got a question about the Cupboard?

Common Cupboard FAQ

How did Common Cupboard start?
The idea for Common Cupboard came about in 2006 when the four friends began crossing paths with people who needed a little extra help. For whatever reason – family crisis, unemployment or illness – they had difficulty meeting basic needs. These were people just like you and me. We began by grabbing an extra bag of groceries at the store or going to our own pantries and giving what we could to help. It dawned on us that if we pooled our financial and food resources along with donations from the community, we could help more people and equip others to reach out. From there a “small revolution of kindness” has grown into Common Heart.
What started as four friends wanting to help neighbors in need, has become a community of hundreds reaching out and serving.                          

Why do we encourage churches and individuals 
to partner with us?
Our mission is to bridge gaps and transform lives, and we do this by building relationships between individuals – those serving and being served – and by connecting people with their community. We believe that people helping people has more positive potential than an organization or agency giving handouts. Because of this philosophy, we want to keep Common Cupboard in the background and, if possible, unseen by those receiving assistance.
We hope that what they see is a caring person, a neighbor or a church serving with kindness and love. We believe we are called not just to help a hungry family, but encourage relationships.

Why do we encourage delivery of food to homes?
While distribution from a central location is convenient, we feel that it can set up an institutional mentality that we want to avoid.
By visiting people, developing relationships and seeing needs first-hand, we make a larger impact in the lives of those we serve. We know their names, listen to their stories and learn what they need so we can connect them with other vital services. It may take time and energy, but it is well worth it.                     

Where does the food come from?
We are a grassroots organization of friends and neighbors, so those who volunteer are involved in giving. We also rely on the community – churches, businesses and other organizations – to help. From organizing food drives and donating items to giving financially, it takes support from the entire community to do what we do.
In addition, we are an agency of Second Harvest Metrolina. This partnership allows us to access food from their food bank at a very low rate and acquire the needed items we give away freely to families in need.

How can I help?
Hundreds of volunteer hours are required each month to sort, pack and deliver groceries. Money is necessary to acquire food and keep the refrigerators and freezers cool.
Churches can match their members and small groups with one, two or 10 hungry families to serve. Individuals can shop for groceries, pick up donations and organize fundraisers or food drives. Businesses can sponsor our mission and give tax-deductible donations.

To get involved, email Executive Director Keith Adams at keith@thecommonplace.org or call 704-218-9060.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Volunteers needed!

Did you know that if we were fully staffed with regular volunteers (serving at least 3 hours each month) it would take 300 volunteers? Right now this work is being done by 225 regular volunteers. So we still have room for you to serve!

We do a lot of different things so we need all kinds of volunteers.                          

For example:
  • Program area volunteers: Common Cupboard: Delivery, Grocery Rescue, Pantry worker;  Monday Night Pantry; Common Things Thrift Store: Clerk, donation processing; The Commonplace: Tax preparers, customer service, etc.
  • Administrative area volunteers: Receptionist, office assistant, project managers, special event planners.
  • Specialized talents: Finance, web design, network administrator, videographer, board members, etc
  • Special Events Volunteers: Volunteers to assist with the planning and execution of our banquet, fundraisers, special distributions. Volunteers to staff food drives.
  • Groups and community service volunteers: Youth groups, Boy/Girl Scouts, church groups, employee service days etc. We also have volunteer opportunities for people and students with disabilities and those needing to complete court-ordered community service hours.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

It's here!

Each year we put together a newspaper full of photos & stories to tell the community who we are and what we do.
Our new edition IS HERE!
You can view (and share!) it online and be sure to pick up your free copy at Common Things Thrift Store.                    
It's a special year for us as we begin our 10th year of service feeding local families in need. The newspaper not only contains the stories of some of the folks we've helped recently, but allows some of our amazing volunteers a chance to share their stories, too.
Give it a read and let us know what you think ... what can we improve for next year?
Email suggestions to keith@thecommonplace.org.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Common Things: More than just a good deal!

Do you know the real story behind our thrift store? 

Our customers know that Common Things Thrift Store is a great place to shop.

Most of our new and nearly-new clothing is priced below $2! You can find great bargains on home decor, linens, books, antiques, collectibles, jewelry and much more at well-below market prices. It's a great place to donate your gently-used items too, because all proceeds from Common Things help us feed hungry local families.                                        

But it is so much more than getting a good deal or supporting a great cause. Common Things is often the first introduction local residents have to Common Heart and its programs.
Store Manager Dana Hinson said she's constantly "humbled" by the way volunteers and customers step up to help those in need.

Whether it's praying with a crying grandmother worried about her grandchild in the hospital or gathering clothing and blankets for a homeless resident, Common Things is there to help.
"It's amazing to see that it's not only about faith. It's about the heart of the people who are here," she said.

Common Things is also a training ground for those needing work-based skills.
It offers a variety of opportunities for those who are mentally or physically challenged or rehabilitating into work. The store also provides community service opportunities to local students, businesses, churches & other social programs. Welcoming families to serve together and give back to the community is a characteristic of this vital part of Common Heart. Unlike many organizations, there are no age limits on opportunities.

We could not predict all of what Common Things Thrift Store would become when its doors opened in June 2011. We have grown in size and sales – most notably with our move last year to a much larger space at 321 Indian Trail Road North. We are now able to offer more goods than ever before!

Come find your treasure!                                                                                                      

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Students, adults serving together

At Common Heart, student volunteers mix in easily with their adult counterparts. It's not uncommon to see middle, high school or college students packing food boxes or processing thrift store donations with volunteers who are old enough to be their parents or grandparents.

And that's just the way community service should look, Executive Director Keith Adams said.

“We like seeing different generations serving together. It really helps emphasize our mission of creating a community – from students to seniors and everyone in between – that cares about serving our neighbors in need,” he said. “We are a community serving together to 'encourage a small revolution of kindness.'”                                             

Many schools require community service hours and those can be achieved by volunteering at Common Heart, which provides proof of hours served. We also help local students and young adults who are required to perform community service hours to satisfy a court sentence for minor charges.

Helping with that effort is Project Challenge, of Monroe, which regularly provides volunteers for our Common Cupboard at Mill Grove Monday night pantry in Hemby Bridge.  

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Food drive fun!

 3,000 pounds of food! 

That's our goal for the amount of food we'd like to collect at each of our two upcoming Harris Teeter food drives on Oct. 3 & Oct. 24! We're hoping to stock our food shelves and also collect many of the nonperishables we'll need for our annual Great Turkey Countdown. (Think corn, green beans, stuffing, gravy etc.)                                                     

Can you give an hour of your time to help? 

We've got one-hour volunteer slots from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3 at the Harris Teeter in the Shops at Sun Valley in Indian Trail and on Saturday, Oct. 24 at the Harris Teeter in Wesley Chapel.

To sign up to serve Oct. 3, click here:  http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0f4faeaa2da20-sunvalley

To sign up to serve Oct. 24, click here: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0f4faeaa2da20-wesley

Monday, August 31, 2015

New Board Member.

You may recognize our new board member! ;)  
We're so glad Kate decided to step into this new role with Common Heart!

Kate Simon joined the board as the special events advocate after spending a year serving as Common Cupboard food pantry manager. The Wesley Chapel resident says she's eager to take that experience and years of volunteer experience with Common Heart as the newest member of the board.
I started volunteering at Common Heart several years ago because I was looking for a volunteer opportunity that involved helping those in the local community,” she said. “Once I became involved, I fell in love with this organization, the volunteers, and the people we serve.”              
Kate Simon
Kate and her husband, Tom, want to “lead by example” for their children Owen, 9, and Julie, 7.
Kate has a bachelor's degree in American studies from Wellesley College, and a law degree from Rutgers University School of Law. While living in New Jersey, she worked for five years as a staff attorney in the Central Appellate Research Division of the New Jersey judiciary.

The family moved to North Carolina in 2011 and are members at St. Francis United Methodist Church in Charlotte. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Our new Stewardship Manager

We'd like to introduce you to Mary Kate Postle, our new Stewardship Manager! 

Mary Kate joined Common Heart in July 2015 after volunteering for almost a year as a delivery driver for the Common Cupboard.                                         
Mary Kate & Jacob Postle
The Wesley Chapel resident has a bachelor's degree from Clemson University in materials engineering with an emphasis in graphic design, but it's her 9 years of experience working in the procurement department at Charlotte Pipe that are helping with her new role here. There, she helped with United Way fundraising campaigns securing corporate sponsors for events and is excited to do the same thing for Common Heart.
“I love the challenge of it and I'm excited to help Common Heart grow and go to the next level,” she said.
Mary Kate said she “fell in love” with Common Heart because of the relationship-based service and how volunteers try to make sure every donation they receive is put to good use. “Very little is wasted and I think there are not a lot of local nonprofits that can say that,” she said.

Mary Kate and her husband, Jacob, have two sons, Clayton, 3 and Ian, 5. They attend Union United Methodist Church in Wesley Chapel where Mary Kate teaches high school students. She enjoys running and is “trying to be a gardener.”  

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Gleaner's Market Friday August 28, 2015

Announcing our first Gleaner's Market this Friday August 28 from 10:30 am - 12 noon.  This outdoor "market" is an experiment for Common Heart. At least four times a year we have an abundance of food that we need to give out and we can not do it through out normal channels.  So, we decided to try our own version of a farmer's market.

We will have fresh vegetables, fruit, and baked goods such as bread, cakes and cookies. During this one we will also have a some frozen meat that we will be able to give out as well.  There is no cost.  All participants will need to fill out an application and will need to either receive food stamps (SNAP) or make less than 200% of the federal poverty level.  Here is a link to the 200% FPL standard. We also ask that your family currently have a need for groceries so that everyone who has a need can get what they need.

All households wishing to participate should begin arriving at 10 am (please, no earlier). The location is our community resource center, The Commonplace. 116 Business Park Dr, Suite A, Indian Trail, NC 28079.   If you have questions or would like more information you can contact us at CommonHeart@TheCommonplace.org or 704-218-9060.

If you would like to attend, you can pre-register here.

Exciting Common Cupboard news!

Barbara Anglin-Law
There's a new face at our Common Cupboard food pantry! 
We'd like to introduce you to our new Cupboard manager, Barbara Anglin-Law. Be sure to give her a hearty welcome the next time you stop in.
Here's a little bit about Barbara! 

Barbara joined Common Heart in July 2015 and has more than 20 years of experience in the human services field, most recently as a supervisor with the Cabarrus County Department of Human Services.
She first learned about Common Heart by attending one of the organization's Serving U workshops.
The south Charlotte resident said she's “excited about the opportunity” to join this small revolution of kindness.                                                                         
Even though I'm not dealing directly with clients, I actually feel like I'm helping,” she said. “This is why I went into this field and that gets lost sometimes when you become a supervisor working behind a desk.”

A native Charlottean, Barbara and her husband, Richard, have two grown sons, Norris & Preble, and a 16-year-old daughter, Jade. They have one grandson, James. Their family also includes a 200-pound Great Dane, Shakespeare, and schitsu, Chloe. 
You can reach Barbara by emailing Barbara.Anglin-Law@thecommonplace.org. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Newcomers at Common Cupboard at Mill Grove

Our communications guru, Kara, made her first trip to our Common Cupboard at Mill Grove this week and is eager to share about her experience. 

After hearing so many inspiring and encouraging stories about the Common Cupboard at Mill Grove food pantry, I knew I would enjoy my time there Monday. But I didn't expect to walk away with so many stories of my own to share.      

I was there -- camera at the ready -- to take photos for our annual newspaper and Facebook page. I snapped away as volunteers sorted and organized food on tables in preparation for those in need to "shop" for what they wanted. Bread goes here, fruit and veggies there, desserts over there. There was yogurt and juice, too. Everyone got their choice of meats and could also choose between eggs or pizza. No one left without some nonperishables, too.              

After the "shopping" started, I was pleased to be able to put the camera away and help out in small ways, like helping people search for the kinds of bread they liked. I enjoyed sifting through the wrapped loaves donated by local grocery stores in search of particular favorites: pumpernickel, rye, sliced whole wheat for sandwiches, bagels for breakfast. Oh and did we have any tortillas? We did, but they were buried and it took some digging to get to them.

Asking people "What kind of bread do you like?" as they approached the table was, I think, unconsciously a way for me to tell these neighbors in need that I am no different from them. Though they may be struggling to buy groceries, they have likes and dislikes, too. They have favorite flavors and I wanted to help them find items they would enjoy.

Before I stationed myself at the bread table, I was standing just inside the doorway waiting for things to begin. I was approached by a local senior woman who said it was her first time at the Cupboard and she didn't know what she was supposed to do. She seemed hesitant, maybe even a bit nervous. I shared that it was my first time there, too, and I had no idea what the process was. We both laughed together.

Of course, we found fellow volunteer, Rick, who got her squared away. On her way out, I asked "So, what did you think?" She replied "I loved it! I want to volunteer!"

Someone who came for help herself wants to help us? WOW!

My only regret is that I didn't go see what all the fuss was about sooner.

Want to serve on Monday nights? Fill out our volunteer application here: http://thecommonplace.org/#/volunteer-donate/volunteer

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Empty shelves

Our Common Cupboard food pantry is struggling to stock its shelves as the number of people seeking help this summer continues to rise. 

The summer months are traditionally tough on food pantries, but the Cupboard is experiencing a more than 30 percent increase in the number of families it's serving since this time last year. WOW!

Did you know that our Common Cupboard at Mill Grove walk-in food pantry on Monday evenings is currently the only regularly-scheduled federal The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) in Union County? 
That Hemby Bridge site alone is providing a week's worth of groceries for an average of 70 families each week – an increase of more than 20 families per week than the same time last year. The number of monthly food deliveries from the Cupboard has increased too.

During the summer, food drives often decrease just as more families seek help with feeding children who don't have free or reduced meal options through local schools. Even Second Harvest Food Bank – where we acquire a large portion of food as a partner agency – is having trouble keeping up with demand in their 19-county service area.

Sometimes we aren't able to find some of the staples we need at Second Harvest. They're facing the strain of trying to serve so many counties experiencing the same thing that we are. Though we've had a tremendous response from local residents recently, we're way behind in what we need. We need the public's help to continue to feed our neighbors in need.

Urgent needs are: Pasta, pasta sauce (cans or plastic containers preferred), cereal, canned tuna or other meats, soups, canned fruit and veggies, beans and rice. Cash donations are also being accepted to allow us to purchase food from local stores. 
To donate, visit http://TheCommonplace.org or donate in person at Common Things Thrift Store, 321 Indian Trail Road North, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tues. to Sat.

Nonperishable food donations can be dropped off at Common Things from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tues. to Sat. or at the Cupboard, 116 Business Park Drive, suite A, Wed. to Fri. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or Sat. 9 a.m. to noon.  


Friday, July 3, 2015

July 6th is Common Heart's 9th Anniversary
We are celebrating our nation's birthday and ours!
Common Heart Firecracker Run - 7:30 am July 4
Indian Trail July 4 Parade - 11:30 am July 4
Anniversary Sale at Common Things - July 4 - 11
Don't miss the race - You can still register to run/walk in Common Heart Firecracker Run.  Registration in person at Common Things July 3 (til 5 pm), The Running Company(3-5 pm) and in Lake Park starting at 6 am race day.  
Big, Big Anniversary Sale - Starting at Noon on July 4 and running till Saturday July 11,Common Things will feature a great sale to celebrate 1 year in Downtown Indian Trail and 9 years of Common Cupboard and Common Heart serving the community!
  • All Clothing $3.99 and under - Just $1 each! (Tops and Bottoms - Women's, Men's & Children's clothing)
  • Everything else in store, 50% OFF
    Includes seasonal bathing suits, shoes, purses, home decor, linens, housewares, collectibles, jewelry, toys, literally everything!
Open Tuesday - Saturday10am - 5pm.  (July 4 Open After parade at Noon - 5pm)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Big Day Coming for Common Heart

We have 3 big events happening on Saturday July 4.

Common Heart Firecracker Run - This is our 3rd year holding a series of races in the quaint village of Lake Park.  With volunteers arriving at 6 am, we begin the day in preparation for the 4 races featured as part of this event.  Runners in the 10k will begin their trek at 7:30 am.  8:30 am the 5k run/walk begins. The 1k and Kid's Firecracker Dash follows at 9:15 am and 9;30 am.  We have medals and awards for overall winners in each race and age group winners in the 10k & 5k. This race is one of our three main fundraising events each year.  Our goal is to raise $10,000.  This represents a weeks worth of groceries for 400 families.
Three ways you can be a part.

  • Register to run/walk
  • Register to volunteer
  • Register as a HotShot and fund-raise as a part of this event.

Find out more at www.CommonHeartFirecrackerRun.com

Indian Trail Fourth of July Parade - This year will be the first year that we will be participating in the parade.  This will give us a chance to get the new truck out for the community to see.  Thanks to the Grace and Hope Foundation and so many friends and donors, we were able to purchase a new (to us) box truck.  We will decorate it and add it to the parade.  If you want to help decorate it or ride with it contact CommonHeart@TheCommonplace.org 

Common Heart Anniversary - July 6th is the 9th anniversary of Common Heart.  In 2006 four friends began the journey that has become Common Heart, Common Cupboard and Common Things Thrift Store. So many more friends have joined this movement demonstrating God's love in our community over the past 9 years.  In celebration, Common Things Thrift Store will be holding an Anniversary Sale beginning July 4.  Details to follow ... but lets just say there will be some really hot deals!