Monday, January 9, 2017

Saving 10 volunteer hours a week!

2017 is bringing a lot of exciting changes to Common Heart!  

Among those is the implementation of a new online system, Charity Tracker, which will give us the ability for the first time to easily track how each neighbor we meet is helped at Common Heart.

In the past, each of our food pantries had their own database which required volunteers to manually enter data -- taking an average of 10 hours each week! Now, our neighbors in need receive ID cards with a bar code which is scanned each time we help them. That could be anything from receiving groceries to help paying a bill. We'll also be able to see where the funding came from -- was it microgiving? a grant? a church in our Charitas Network?

Participants in our Getting Ahead in a Just Getting By World program will also be using Charity Tracker to take assessments and track their progress as they move toward stability. For the first time, we'll be able to efficiently measure outcomes for those we help.

We are looking for volunteers to serve Saturday mornings at our Cupboard food pantry in Indian Trail to specifically scan ID cards for the families who will receive deliveries that day. If you can help, email or call Corey Tossas at 704-218-9060. 

From "Bridging the Gap" to "Becoming a Bridge" for families in need

Pilot program to empower local families to end generational poverty

For 10 years we've focused on “bridging the gap” for local families in need by providing food. In 2017 though we want to do so much more. 

Thanks to grants from Speedway Children's Charities and the Grace & Hope Foundation, we're launching our first session of Getting Ahead in a Just Getting By World on Feb. 7 at Mill Grove UMC's Sun Valley campus, which has generously donated its space for the 16-week program. The internationally-known program will be the first of its kind in the Union County area.   

We need volunteers to provide dinner and childcare which will be available for participants during weekly meetings.

Getting Ahead is our implementation of Bridges Out of Poverty concepts which we've taught through local workshops over the past year. The internationally-known Bridges is training for those in middle class and wealth to better understand the realities of those living in poverty and develop strategies to combat poverty. (Our next Bridges workshop is Jan. 28. To register, visit

Our desire is to go beyond ‘bridging the gap’ to transforming lives. We want to become the bridge that our neighbors in need can use to move out of survival mode and into stability. Getting Ahead has the potential to not only change a family and give hope to the next generation, but help solve persistent local problems related to poverty.

The program will hire 12 local residents in poverty as “investigators,” to paint a picture of local poverty. Together with a facilitator residents will investigate poverty and its effects in our community and their own lives while they discover resources to move into greater stability. At the end of the 48-hour program the larger community will be able to learn and better understand poverty, and these investigators will be empowered to solve these problems in their own lives and in the community.

They'll emerge with a plan and join the developing 'community of kindness' that will also assist them as allies in their own struggle. It's our hope that the Getting Ahead graduates together with Bridges allies in middle class & wealth will help to create a sustainable community where all can do well.

Our goal is personal and community transformation.

We need churches, restaurants or individuals to donate meals for the program and adult volunteers are also needed to help with childcare.

To help or learn how you can join the program, email or call Barbara Anglin-Law at 704-218-9060.