In addition to maintaining 20 gardening plots—as well as a plot specifically set aside for growing free organic produce for those in need—Cooks Community Garden plans to host classes in the coming year to encourage individuals to begin gardening as a way of lowering food costs and removing obstacles to accessing fresh, seasonal produce. Anticipated classes will cover topics ranging from gardening basics to grilling vegetables and keeping backyard chickens.
Each weekday, 100 Friendship Trays volunteers prepare more than 500 meals to be delivered to homebound recipients, sometimes preparing as many as 725 for one day's delivery. The volunteers deliver meals around lunch time, and each balanced meal comprises two separate containers of food—one with meat or fish and an accompanying vegetable, and one with a carbohydrate, fruit or salad, and dessert—along with a container of milk or juice. Friendship Trays drivers hand-deliver each meal to its recipient with a friendly, face-to-face greeting. Since each meal costs the organization $4.50 to prepare, it costs a total of $1,170 to provide one individual with a meal each weekday for one year, and the organization relies on outside donations to continue to provide this service.
Founded in 1913 by a team of 15 prominent physicians and business leaders in New York, the American Cancer Society (ACS) aimed to raise awareness about cancer and find ways to treat it. During that time the society created the iconic Sword of Hope—a caduceus entwined with serpents—and started a movement that would transform cancer from a death sentence into a survivable disease.
Today, the American Cancer Society funds research, raises awareness, and sponsors support programs through 12 chartered divisions and more than 900 local offices across the country. In the past several decades, ACS has funded significant research leading to a cure for cancer, and supported more than 46 researchers who have gone on to win the Nobel Prize. ACS’s programs include the Reach to Recover program, which matches survivors with someone suffering from cancer to help share experience and create hope, and the Road to Recovery program, which provides free rides to and from treatments.
Care Ring was originally founded in 1955 to help prevent heart disease and manage work-site wellness. Over time, it adapted to serve the holistic needs of the community by providing preventative health services to local families. Today, the low-cost clinic treats more than 7,000 uninsured and under-insured Mecklenburg County residents, with care including regular physicals, chronic-disease management, lab work, and sick visits. Partnering with the Mecklenburg County Medical Society and Charlotte Dental Society, 1,500 volunteer dentists and physicians provide these free and low-cost services for individuals who do not qualify for Medicaid. The organization also conducts a nurse home-visiting program that assists first-time mothers and their children. Care Ring’s programs help reduce the number of costly, unnecessary emergency-room visits, and aims to prevent patients’ health conditions from worsening when they cannot afford to seek medical care.
Angie Acosta, founder of Queen City DanceOut, has a simple motto for her students: "If you're moving, you're doing it right." This encouraging, low-pressure attitude attracts people of all ages to her dance-inspired fitness classes, which meet at 18 public locations. Angie and her instructors aim to make exercise feel like a celebration and a refreshing break rather than a dreaded routine. To this end, their classes incorporate intuitive dance moves and invigorating music. DanceOut, the signature course, blends genres as diverse as swing, hip-hop, and reggae into a workout, relying on repetition and basic choreography to keep everyone grooving. Other highlights of the curriculum include the Latin rhythms of Zumba; the Dance Impact class, which fuses dance and kickboxing; and JamStrong, a mixture of core-conditioning, dance, and fun.
Community is a central aspect of every DanceOut class. As pupils practice their twirls, they can follow both the teacher and the Jam Crew—a team of regulars who help make the steps easy to follow and can assist fellow dancers. In addition to group workouts, instructors host skill workshops such as Booty Bootcamp, where attendees learn rump-shaking techniques and how to turn any chair into a rocking chair. They also put on performances and lead private classes for special events and parties.
Many families are not emotionally or financially prepared for weathering the ordeal of a baby's stay in the NICU. Noah's Arc provides them with meals and newborn essentials, as well as information and resources relating to the challenges and health risks facing infants born prematurely. Families also receive care packages prepared and distributed by The Arc. Each care package costs $20 to assemble and contains items such as baby mitts, a pack of diapers, an infant onesie, and two pacifiers.
Located near two major children's hospitals in Charlotte’s Myers Park area, the Ronald McDonald House offers a comforting environment featuring 28 bedrooms and suites with private baths. Additionally, the facility is equipped with a community kitchen, playground, computer room, and porch. Although families are asked to donate $15 per night to stay at the house, Ronald McDonald House accommodates families in need, even if they are unable to pay the donation costs.