Out of Office

BelkCloseFrom the sales floor of a department store or a desk at the corporate offices, Charlotte’s Reid Park Academy may seem like a world away. But late last week, more than 250 employees of Belk, Inc. found themselves at the west Charlotte school armed with paint brushes, gardening gloves and trash bags.

“It’s been nice to leave your job for a few hours and do something like this,” Belk employee Richard Carter told the Charlotte Observer. “It’s fun to give something back to the community.”

The project at Reid Park marked the end of a four-month endeavor by Belk to mobilize 23,000 employees in 16 states as part of the company’s 125 Days of Service.

Reid Park Academy was one of eleven Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools serving low-income families which received improvements ranging from new landscaping and paint to bookshelves.

Nationwide, Belk employees worked on the campuses of 220 schools during projects organized by Points of Light, the parent organization of Hands On Charlotte.

The Belk initiative in Charlotte is one of the largest examples of recent All Hands projects managed by Hands On Charlotte.

Each year, Hands On Charlotte matches employees of companies, both large and small, with the needs of our community. The employer identifies the company’s volunteer interests and timeline, and Hands On Charlotte makes a match with one of more than 100 partner agencies, while also providing the tools and management oversight to ensure the volunteer project goes smoothly for all involved.

Hands On Charlotte would like to say “thanks” for the contributions of Belk employees that will have a direct impact on students returning to class this fall. “We’re impacting the learning environment and giving kids the chance to be more productive citizens,” Eric Law, Hands On Charlotte’s executive director, told the Charlotte Observer.

Check out some additional pictures at Hands On Charlotte’s Facebook page

By The Numbers (in 16 states)

  • 21,000 volunteer hours of service
  • 8,000 books collected or donated
  • 5,000 paintings produced
  • 315 picnic tables built
  • $500,000 = value of service hours
  • 131,000 = number of students impacted by volunteer projects
Mark Boone
Board Member & Communications Volunteer
Hands On Charlotte


Celebrating Dr. King through Service

Let the countdown begin! Tomorrow is the MLK Call to Service presented by Hands On Charlotte. In previous years, Hands On Charlotte has hosted a fun filled day of community service projects on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. This year, we changed not only the day but the structure to meet community’s growing enthusiasm. Tomorrow, Saturday, January 19 we will host a day of service at not one…two… but THREE Mecklenburg locations.

From 10am-2pm, HOC will convene at three Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools: Blythe Elementary School, East Mecklenburg High School and Harding University High School.  At each school, one can help sort donated clothing for Crisis Assistance Ministry, wrap books for Promising Pages, and/or stuff pencil packages for Classroom Central. Kids of all ages can let their creative energy flow while making greeting cards for Friendship Trays.

Last year, I had the privilege of helping Crisis Assistance Ministries with the Poverty Simulation.  It was a touching experience. Not only did I have the opportunity to interact with the organization but also learned so much about the constituents within my local community.  I was so moved by interaction that I continued couldn’t stop spreading the word.

Come out and kick off your 2013 resolutions with service to the Charlotte community. No need to sign up to attend. Just stop by and lend your community an hour or two of your time.  If you are lucky, you might catch up with Charlotte’s local blogger from Pure & Simple Organizing or win a US Airways gift card.

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  See you on Saturday!

Leticia Foster
Communications Volunteer
Hands On Charlotte

Volunteer Networking

Spring signifies the winding down of the academic year.  As Charlotte -Mecklenburg students begin to prepare for spring break, teachers visit Classroom Central to pick up necessities for their students. 

This visit, I had the pleasure to assist Classroom Central with their bi-weekly teacher shopping experience. While this was not my first time volunteering at Classroom Central, it was a unique visit.

On this particular Thursday afternoon, Hands On Charlotte worked side by side with nine Wells Fargo employees. Classroom Central bustled with activity as the two organizations integrated in order to lend assistance to over 90 teachers. 

I enjoyed talking briefly to teachers as they checked out to learn about their day and their classrooms. Since this day was “slower” than my previous visit, I had the opportunity to network with Wells Fargo employees and HOC volunteers. Each volunteer had a unique story and what attracted him/her to Hands On Charlotte and or Classroom Central. It was a great opportunity to learn more about my community and yet another great volunteer experience to support education!

Leticia Foster


Hands On Charlotte

Visit Hands On Charlotte to learn more about volunteering with Classroom Central, as well as other ways to help Charlotte’s schools and educators.