Friday, November 8, 2019

Donor Spotlight: Food Lion Feeds

You’ve heard of Food Lion (we hope!), but have you heard of the Food Lion Feeds program? This charitable giving effort started in 2014 and we’re thrilled to say that Common Heart has benefited from several sponsorship donations for recent fundraising events, including last month’s Love in Action Banquet. 
“Our mantra is that people should not have to choose between rent or groceries or paying medical bills and nourishing their family,” Angela Wheeler from Food Lion Feeds said. “It’s who we are. It’s what we’re passionate about.” 

The program has 30 food bank partners in 10 states and Wheeler said they’re proud to partner with Common Heart. Our food pantries benefit from their generosity year-round with weekly food pickups at local stores and a special holiday program that sends lots of nonperishables our way. Food Lion employees can often be found out and about volunteering in our community!   

  “Common Heart’s mission aligns with what we’re trying to do to help local towns and cities to provide them with those basic needs like food,” Wheeler said. “Learning more about Common Heart has been an eye opener for me and we love to know how many meals each donation is providing. It was a no brainer to support you guys.” 

Thank you Food Lion & Food Lion Feeds!!! 


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Bridging the Gap: Literacy by Keith Adams

“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.” Kofi Anan

I’m going to confess: my biggest fear is not being able to express myself.  A friend had a stroke this year and lost the ability to read. That scares me. Why? Being able to read and write, or speak and understand English is so important to me. Without it, my family and I would be stuck, economically disadvantaged, and we would be unable to participate fully in this community.

Really, if you think about it, the ability to express ourselves verbally and in writing is at the foundation of our American experience.  It’s so important that it is in the First Amendment … freedom of speech, the press, religion, expression is core to what it means to live here in America.  I was shocked that this summer the Literacy Council of Union County lost its funding and lost hope in accomplishing its mission, abandoning students and tutors.  Fortunately, members of this community, over 60 of them, felt strong enough to start to do something to reignite the adult literacy mission in our county.   

How did we get connected with adult literacy?  In June I heard about the closing.  I mentioned it to my wife, Deb. She was emphatic that we couldn’t let it die.  She noted how essential literacy is not only for getting a good job, but for daily life. So, I brought it up in a board meeting and we had a very engaged conversation about how important literacy is to our economic empowerment agenda. The board told me to find out what I could.  I made some calls and Linda Moyer reached out to me. Linda was one of the Council’s co-founders and is passionate about adult literacy. I had a visit from former board members, who like Linda, were outraged. As was Kelly Norton, a former Executive Director.  

Like in the early days of Common Heart, a small group of people spread the word and before long over 60 community members became part of the conversation representing education, churches, government, social services, and nonprofits. Former and current volunteers, tutors and staff of the Council joined with other community members and our volunteers and staff to start reviving adult literacy in Union County.

By August, it was decided that what we are calling the Literacy Volunteers would have a home at Common Heart and become one of our major program areas! We’re so excited! Gwen Bothun, Felicia Radcliff, Syl Walker along with Linda Moyer, Kelly Norton and I would be part of a steering committee coordinating the efforts of 3 teams of volunteers. Our task: support the current tutors and students, re-establish a presence in Monroe, expand the new program throughout Union County -- all on a shoestring budget driven by volunteers. 

Thanks to the generosity of friends who put up a matching grant and a local church we began raising funds. Lee Park Baptist Church committed to pay 3 months rent for our Monroe office which will be our connection in the community and house our computer lab. Thanks to the amazing vision of Signposts Ministries to provide a co-working space for nonprofit agencies near downtown Monroe we will be opening Common Heart’s newest location in Monroe this month. Watch for a grand opening and ribbon cutting once we are all set up and going!!

There’s so much to do to restart this program in our community. Three community teams are busy determining curriculum, policies for the program, setting up background support systems for tutors and students, and looking for funding.  Your help is needed!  This month we will be moving to our new Monroe location setting up the office and computer lab, and recruiting and training office and lab volunteers. It won’t be too long now!  If you are interested in helping, reach out to

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Volunteers needed to continue adult literacy program in Union Co.

Common Heart is spearheading efforts to continue adult literacy tutoring following the recent closure of the Literacy Council of Union County ... and we need YOUR help!

An interest meeting will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3 at the Community Shelter of Union County, 160 Meadow Street, in Monroe. We're looking for input from the community including past volunteers, tutors and just anyone else who wants to help other adults learn to read! We will be forming a steering committee.  RSVP to or call Keith Adams at 704-218-9060. 

“Adult Literacy and English as a Second Language (ESL) tutoring is critical in our community and needs to continue,” said Keith Adams, Executive Director of Common Heart. “We’re going to support the continuation of this important mission however we can. We’re looking to partner with individuals, churches and other organizations to keep the mission going. This is a group effort.”

Kelly Norton, a former executive director of the Literacy Council, said until you meet an adult who can’t read you don’t realize just how important literacy is.  

“Literacy impacts every part of a person’s life,” she said. “Every day we read street signs or a note from our child’s teacher without thinking about it. But for so many of our neighbors, reading is a life line.” 

Literacy Council co-founder and former director Linda Moyer has been working and volunteering in literacy since 1983 and was key to the Council’s founding in 1998. She’s hopeful that the work will continue in Union County and says she believes in the mantra: “If you can read, you can teach someone to read.”

“Other than the ability to read, a volunteer needs no special skills. A great literacy volunteer just has patience and the desire to help a neighbor,” Moyer said. “We need volunteers from a variety of backgrounds who have a passion for adult literacy.”

For more information about volunteering or joining the steering committee, email: or call Keith Adams at 704-218-9060.  We hope you can join us! PLEASE SHARE this meeting with anyone you think may be interested!