When the world shut down in 2020 due to the pandemic, we got moving. From Free Lunches to Homeless support, we targeted the resources that were needed the most, and worked day and night to provide them in a supportive, low-barrier yet Covid-safe format.
We also hosted a free testing station at our headquarters - in addition to providing PPE supplies such as masks, gloves, and sanitizer to those unable to access or afford these critical care items.
TENT CITY SUPPORT
Our initial tent city trips began with the intent to distribute hot lunches and cold water to the shelterless community; but with each daily visit, we saw the need for resources far overshadow
In the summer of 2020 alone, our daily outreach team provided over 92,000 lbs of ice for heat relief and food preservation safety; along with 200+ tents, 250+ tarps, 500+ blankets, THOUSANDS of batteries, and countless amounts of other items including flashlights, clothing, bug spray, hand warmers, reading glasses, first aid kits, and so much more.
LUNCH IS ON US
Another casualty of the Covid-19 shutdown was school lunch programs. With the closing of all NC schools, thousands of children in the most marginalized, lower-income districts were left without the only hot, balanced meal some would get all day.
Hearts United for Good immediately mobilized to work with local catering companies to distribute free hot lunches in the top 7 at-risk locations.
Through donor giving and sponsorship, HUG was able to provide over 55,000 lunches to children in need.
FREE FOOD PANTRY
Food Insecurity is unfortunately one of the fastest growing issues facing our community today. With job losses, pandemics, lack of affordable housing, and numerous other factors, providing food and groceries has become in incredibly arduous task for so many families.
HUG has operated a low-barrier, covid-safe, drive-through Free Food Pantry program that includes a full week of groceries for each family every Wednesday night for the last 3 years.
To date, this collaborative effort has provided over 16,600 full bags of groceries to struggling families & individuals (in just the last 36 months alone!)
December of 2020 was a particularly crucial time for families in need during the holiday season. With the continued effects of Covid-19, it became even more crucial to support families in economic crisis. Our Christmas giveaway event distributed groceries and toys for over 600 families in one amazing night.
On Thanksgiving 2023, our HUG Food Pantry program collected essential items and assembled complete all the components of a Thanksgiving feast for over 195 families of 4+ people (Including 1 large turkey or ham, 3 large prepared sides, assorted canned vegetables, cranberry sauce, and a family sized pie)
In February of 2021, the County issued and eviction order for the residents of Tent City due to Public Health Concerns - specifically citing a rodent infestation.
The order only gave residents 72 hours to grab 2 bags of belongings and leave or store any excess belongings. HUG was instrumental in joining other grassroots groups to be on site and help facilitate the transition. It was important to us that they knew there would be familiar faces for every step of this unfamiliar journey.
After 52 hours without sleep, Hearts United for Good assumed the role of staffing the county funded hotel for the entirety of the program, providing comfort and assistance for 219 consecutive days.
"In a gentle way, you can shake the world"
- Mahatma Ghandi
NON-PROFIT OF THE YEAR
HUG was proud to be one of the 2020-2021 Business & Community Awards recipients, a program that recognizes the contributions made by businesses and individuals in building a stronger LGBT+ and allied business and professional community
When announced, chamber vice chair, Tiffany “Tip” Keaton said “We are excited to recognize this year’s slate of award recipients. Each have clearly demonstrated their unrelenting commitment to marketplace and workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion. Congratulations on a job well done!”
In October of 2021, Hearts United for Good was one of nine non-profits recognized for our work in Tent City during the 72 hour eviction order in February of 2021.
"NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Mecklenburg Board pf County Commissioners does hereby express our deepest thanks and gratitude and recognize the Herculean and tireless efforts of the aforementioned groups and their volunteers to help accomplish a massive and seemingly impossible feat"
VIEW THE OFFICIAL PROCLAMATION HERE
In 2022, HUG Executive Director Bethany McDonald was one of 5 individuals
honored by the Carolinas LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce as a "Community Icon" for her years of non-profit work in Mecklenburg County.
Volunteering with such organizations promoting diversity, equity, and inclusivity as HRC, R.A.I.N., Time Out Youth, Twirl to the World Foundation, Special Olympics, Homeless Services Network, and many more, Bethany has dedicated herself to serving our community; a goal that is exhibited daily as she consistently strives to further the growth and impact of Hearts United for Good.
HRC DAN MAUNEY AWARD
This year, the NC chapter of HRC announced the creation of the "Dan Mauney Equality Award" to recognize exceptional leadership in the local LGBTQ+ community. The Board and Volunteers of HUGCLT were beyond proud and honored to receive this distinction and inaugural recognition.
Dan was a pioneer in the field of Human Rights in North Carolina, championing many movements focused on both awareness and changed. We were blessed to have such a fierce advocate of equality fighting for basic human rights regardless of age, race, gender identity, religion, and more. Our goal at Hearts United for Good is to follow in Dan’s footsteps, and continue our endless efforts to better this world for all.