Hundreds of Chatham families have been helped; More require assistance

Posted 2/11/21

Editor’s note: The News + Record partnered with Abundance NC and other groups to create “Neighbor2Neighbor” last spring to connect Chatham residents in need with Chatham residents who have the …

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Hundreds of Chatham families have been helped; More require assistance

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Editor’s note: The News + Record partnered with Abundance NC and other groups to create “Neighbor2Neighbor” last spring to connect Chatham residents in need with Chatham residents who have the capacity to help. The program has expanded thanks to community support and the fact that need across the N.C. Piedmont has grown. Here’s a program update from Marcela Slade, the executive director of Abundance NC.

Abundance NC’s Neighbor2Neighbor / VecinoAVecino program was started in March 2020. It’s a mutual aid program in which neighbors living in the Piedmont — who are willing and able to do so — donate money in order to help pay utilities and shelter for those in need. Some folks have time and resources and help buying and delivering groceries to others. That helps make the Neighbor2Neighbor / VecinoAVecino assistance immediate. When there are funds, needs are normally met within a few days. There is no application process other than reaching out to the organization for help.

Throughout the month of December 2020, Abundance NC created a Holiday Gift Card Campaign for the Neighbor2Neighbor / VecinoAVecino program and raised $17,000, helping approximately 85 families with food, shelter and utilities.

Currently the program is in need of funds. Although the moratorium for evictions was extended, people still need to pay their rent. The moratorium just means they won’t get kicked out right now, but if they don’t pay rent it just accumulates as debt — and once the moratorium is lifted, renters face the prospect of getting kicked onto the streets.

And there is no moratorium on utilities getting cut off. There are several families who have received disconnect notices and a couple who currently have no heat.

Many people are struggling because of COVID-19, but others are in bad situations and the pandemic just makes things worse. In serving families, volunteers with Abundance NC have seen systemic racism and social inequality throughout the region — but also an outpouring of community support from many people who have shown a lot of love and compassion.

For instance, Chapel In the Pines Presbyterian Church recently made a generous donation to help about a dozen families. And last week the Neighbor2Neighbor / VecinoAVecino program paired a neighbor who actually decided she didn’t want to just buy and deliver the suggested grocery list but rather meet the head of household (family with kids aged 5, 11, 13, 15 and 17) at the grocery store, with mask and socially distant, in order for them to do the shopping themselves.

If you can join your community in helping this great program, please join our program. If you are willing and able to help but don’t have time, you can donate here or write a check to Abundance NC and mail it to: Abundance NC / Neighbor2Neighbor 220 Lorax Lane / Box 5 / Pittsboro, NC 27312

Once we receive and process your donation you will receive a tax deductible receipt. *20% goes to program overhead costs.

We also have a Valentine’s Day Gift Card Campaign. Instead of buying a generic card or random box of chocolates, you can donate toward the program and have Abundance NC send a Valentine’s card, on your behalf, to the person/s you wish.

To take part, go here: https://abundancenc.org/neighbor2neighbor-vecinoavecino-valentine-gift-card-campaign-support-people-in-need/.

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