YEAR IN REVIEW
We took the time to crunch the numbers to better illustrate the differences made and the change enacted by our HUG board, staff, volunteers, sponsors, and donors on this amazing community.
Our currently operational programming has continued to grow at a rapid rate; seeing more that a 200% increase in client numbers and critical community support. With the rolloffs of Covid benefits, and massive cuts in major assistance funding, the need has escalated beyond words - with no relief in sight.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
- Margaret Mead
After the official re-launch of the organization and opening of the new HUG office space in December 2022, we hit the ground running in January of 2023. Since then, we never looked back - and still haven’t slowed down. Amongst our ideas in our new location, we had a vision of creating a community space for any and all organizations looking to better this world.
We personally renovated our offices and large event space with our own hands - using only repurposed and donated materials - creating the Joyce Kelly Community Room. In 2023 alone, we provided the community space to 25+ various local non-profits and resource groups for conferences, trainings, film screening, meetings, community support events, fundraisers, and more. Some of the groups and organizations include:
PFLAG Care for the Caregiver
UNCC MSW Graduation Party
HSN Fall Conference
Lotus Project Series
Trans Day of Remembrance
Dudley’s Place Red Ribbon Gala
United Way Home For All meeting
County Unsheltered Workgroup Meetings
Breaking Bread Project Christmas Party
Queen City Harm Reduction Film Screening “Love & Fentanyl”
Sex Trafficking Training Event
PRN Resource Event
Black Gay Pride
We have also hosted numerous planning meetings and workgroups, such as the R.A.I.N. Gay Bingo Leadership Group, Twirl to the World, Mecklenburg County Services, Hola Neighbor, Hearts for The Invisible, Practice National Conference, Homeless Services Network Members, and more!
For more information on the space and availability, feel free to contact email@example.com. 100% of the proceeds from the community space goes directly to HUG programming (*zoning and permit regulations will apply*)
FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
With the relocation of our offices in 2022, we were able to move our operations to one of the highest risk service corridors in Charlotte - ensuring that our food assistance program was more accessible for those with the greatest need.
Over the last 36 months, the HUG Free Food Pantry program has provided over 16,000 bags of groceries to struggling families and individuals in Mecklenburg County.
In 2023 alone, HUG passed out over 8,510 bags of groceries. This is almost DOUBLE the amount from 2022 (4,414 bags) and almost TRIPLE the amount served during the 2021 Covid Recovery period (3,239 bags)
In May 2021, the HUG pantry distributed 185 bags of groceries. Conversely, in May of 2023, the Hug pantry (in our new location) distributed 1133 bags of groceries. Which is an increase of 512%!
At the close of 2023, HUG was approved as an official partner of the Diaper Bank of the Carolinas, ensuring that we can now provide a minimum of 2650 diapers PER MONTH
From 2020 - 2022, our HUG volunteers worked around the clock inside ‘Tent City’ and the surrounding encampments, being present to assist the residents during the eviction orders and transitioning to the designated hotels - which we went on to staff 24/7 for the duration of the program.
With the relocation of our offices, we were able to shift gears in 2023 and not only serve the shelterless neighbors in our immediate area - we have now become a resource, storage, and supply hub for our own Homeless Outreach program, as well as numerous others! In addition to our daily walk-ups and shelterless neighbors that attend pantry nights, we have also created a large storage space that serves as donation intake and storage. We now work closely with other outreach groups and case workers to provide resources and supplies (such as food, blankets, tents, household items, etc.) whenever we have the on-site inventory. Working TOGETHER to maximize our impact has always been our core philosophy, and the changes that we made in 2023 finally enabled us to embrace and enact that concept!
In the last 36 months, HUG has committed over 12,300 unpaid volunteer hours in the field of homeless outreach, 10,752 hours of contracted hotel/shelter staffing for Mecklenburg County, as well as 3,555 hours of contracted senior (60+) hotel/shelter staffing for Roof Above.
In the last 4 months of 2023 alone, HUG has provided the following. crour shelterless neighbors with (either directly, or through partner organizations):
300+ cans of non-perishable foods (stew, pasta, proteins)
220+ cans of soup
200+ pairs of socks
110+ blankets/sleeping bags
80+ pairs of pants
75+ pairs of shoes
60+ hygiene kits
ANIMAL WELFARE PROGRAM
Our Animal Welfare program launched our “Freedom Run Initiative” earlier in 2023, providing a free, clean, grassy and straw-filled 1,000+ sq. ft. fence for 3 dogs - previously living in less than 100 sq. ft of mud and feces. Later in the summer, we built a large fence complete with an 11ft. gate for a wonderful soul that had recently saved a dog from euthanization for space - all while battling stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. (We love you Mike!!!! And Ace!!!! You’ve got this sweet friend!) To view the video of one of our most impactful fence builds, click here
We repaired or updated multiple fences belonging to past clients, and delivered or supplied over 4,000lbs of dog food for owners and pets in need. We registered 6 service dogs for homeless clients securing housing and needing emotional support, and HUG covered the cost of numerous vet visits - from updated shots - to life-saving care.
Most importantly, we personally rescued 3 amazing dogs from certain death - racing to the shelter to pull each one within an hour of their scheduled euthanization (simply for space). We spent the nights sleeping at the office - getting them acclimated and decompressed until they felt safe enough to be the beautiful animals they truly were! ALL 3 DOGS were adopted, and not only that - all 3 dogs literally changed and saved the lives of their new owners.
One story was actually covered by the Dodo.com, which is the #1 animal brand (globally) on digital platforms and social media. The Dodo also boasts over 2.5 BILLION total monthly video views, and nearly 1.5B minutes watched each month all over the world. Check out our video feature below!
HUG also became approved members of the North Carolina Animal Federation, Shelter Animals Count: Community Services Database,
SHELTER ANIMALS COUNT COMMUNITY SERVICES DATABASE: The Community Services Database (CSD) is for animal sheltering/non-sheltering and human services organizations to capture the most common ways shelters, rescues, and service-based organizations are supporting pets and people in our communities.
2024 will be dedicated to identifying and applying for Animal Welfare grants that will enable us to not only sustain our existing initiatives, but to expand our impact and programming to help even more deserving animals in need.
HUG Diversity & Inclusion Policy
Hearts United for Good is committed to creating an environment that is diverse, inclusive, and equitable where all staff, partners, vendors, board members, and clients we serve are treated with respect and dignity. For the purposes of this statement, diversity refers to race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual identity, familial status, age, disability and socio-economic status; Inclusion is valuing, respecting, and encouraging the full participation of each individual in the life and leadership of the organization; Equity is a process that ensures all people have the opportunity to contribute, develop, and grow despite historical, structural, legislative, racial, and socio-economic inequities. We will not tolerate discrimination, biases, harassment, or bullying of any kind. Regardless of race, socio-economic status, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, gender, or marital status, we are an organization that celebrates the richness of our community.
ALL ARE WELCOME. ALWAYS.