Charlotte and Mecklenburg County church assistance programs.

Dozens of churches from the Charlotte area provide help to the less fortunate. Many of the services focuses on child care or after school support, but there are some parishes that may offer financial assistance for some bills. Find how to get rent help, enroll into ESL classes, or families in poverty can receive counseling from one of the many parishes in Mecklenburg County.

Most of the churches focus on children. Whether it is given them food so they do not go hungry, providing clothes, diapers or Christmas gifts, or anything else, help is provided. In fact, Derita Presbyterian Church (location is 2230 W. Sugar Creek Rd., Charlotte, North Carolina, 28221, dial 704-597-1122) also runs a Summer Day Camp (SDC) as well as Genelda Kesler After School Kare (ASK).

One reason is that the Mecklenburg County religious groups focus on youth is that they do not want the child to suffer due to their parents financial hardship. So if the adult is behind on paying the families bills, such as rent or utilities, or if the parent lost a job, the child still should get the support they need. They should not go without diapers, furniture to sleep on, formula, or other items. With about 15% of children not always certain where their next meal may come from, most religious groups find this unacceptable.

Garr Church at 7700 Wallace Rd., Charlotte, NC, 28212 (phone 704-568-7700) is another option. They offer low cost pre-school classes. It is for infants up to people that are 4 years old. There are also weekly programs held for teenagers, kids over the age of 4, and others. Members of the church will counseling them, help them with homework, mentor, and much more.

There are many charitable organizations that can refer individuals to financial help. This is always a focus of Mecklenburg County churches. Unfortunately they often can't provide the funds someone needs, but they can link a member of the parish to a resource. Whether it is help for repairing a car, funds to pay rental expenses or lights bills, places like Church World Service (address: 300 Hawthorne Ln., Charlotte, North Carolina, 28222-1264, phone 704-333-9255) may offer support. They often partner with charities including Second Harvest Food Bank, Crisis Assistance Ministry and Loaves and Fishes.





Many social services are also available from Loaves & Fishes. They are represented at many locations, including New Zion Missionary Baptist Church (location is 217 W. Todd Lane, Charlotte, NC, 28208, dial 704-523-4333). The ministries may offer cash aid or basic supplies, including diapers or baby wipes, or cribs for newborns.

They can help meet emergency needs. But if financial help is ever given out, it is provided along with other advice to address the root causes of poverty and hunger. There is not restrictions on who can apply, and a church will not discriminate. If the person is an immigrant who has limited English skills, elderly, or not actively practicing, they can still receive emergency financial aid when qualified in other ways.

As part of addressing the root cause of poverty, a job and employment skills are critical for this. Therefore places like Huntersville First Baptist Church (19 N. Old Statesville Rd., Huntersville, NC, 28078, phone 704-875-6581) offer ESL Classes. Volunteers will actively teach conversational English skills to anyone in need, including Spanish-speaking community members.

Berean Seventh Day Adventist Church Schools & Community Center is an example of a multi-service center. They are at 1332 Oaklawn Avenue, Charlotte, North Carolina, 28206 (phone 704-377-4741). This charity has many resources, including assistance to fill up prescription medications, a free clothing bank and food pantry, and even free furniture as well. Weekly meals are also served too.

As many as 10 churches operate food pantries and thrift stores in Mecklenburg County. Even if not listed in the referral database, if you have a parish ion your zip code you can always stop by. They will often try to feed the hungry, even if they are not a formal pantry. St. Paul Baptist Church (location is 401 N. Allen St., Charlotte, North Carolina, 28205, phone 704-334-5309) is but one option.




They will provide assistance for people in need of meals, boxes of groceries, holiday support, and clothing. Many of them have distribution only a couple days per week or month. The hours will tend to be limited. So it is recommended to call in advance. Note some focus on certain needs. As an example, Metropolitan Community Church of Charlotte (825 Eastway Dr., Charlotte, NC, 28201, phone 704-563-5810) will focus mostly on people that live in that immediate neighborhood.

The fact is that there are many assistance programs in Mecklenburg County. While a local church will try to fill some needs, there is only so much they can do. For more referrals, dial 211 or stop by a center in your town.

By Jon McNamara

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