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Single Stop partners with CMS, expands reach across Mecklenburg County

Inside the Single Stop food pantry.

CHARLOTTE, N.C., September 10, 2019 – Single Stop, a food pantry on the campus of Johnson C. Smith University, is expanding its services across Mecklenburg County. The program just got the green light for a second-year deal with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

“It’s a pilot study; we started with an elementary school, middle school and high school. We serviced 100 plus families, not including the students we were still servicing on campus, said Dr. Melvin Herring, Master of Social Work Program Director.

Bruns Academy Elementary, Marie G. Davis Middle and Garinger High School participated in the pilot program, but this year more schools could potentially be added to that list. 

Single Stop offers food, toiletries and even referral assistance to families and students in need.

“We have a partnership with the Mecklenburg County Bar Association and we have one pro bono attorney, we hope to get some more that will come on board to meet with our clients, that give them one free consultation,” Single Stop Coordinator, Yvonne Moore explained.

In addition to the legal consultation, Single Stop collaborates with Self Help to provide financial literacy workshops, assistance with credit scores and housing qualification. The program also partners with Food Lion, Loaves and Fishes, and receives donations from sororities and fraternities to assist people in need.

Single Stop, which launched in New York as an antipoverty initiative through the Robin Hood Foundation in 2001, did not exist in North Carolina until 2015 when it expanded its services to the state through a grant from the John M. Belk Endowment Foundation. In 2016, Single Stop became a part of JCSU’s Metropolitan College with funding from the Knight Foundation; making it the first four-year institution and first Historically Black College and University to be included in the Single Stop initiative in North Carolina.  

Last year, Single Stop moved to the School of Social Work from Metropolitan College. The change is providing hands on experience to students. 

“We get to really have an impact on the community,” Herring emphasized. Adding, “It provides us with internships for our MSW students and our BSW students.” 

MSW students are required to complete 900 volunteer hours before graduating. As Herring explained, he hopes the formula for teaching strengthens the partnership with CMS. 

“The idea is if we scale this beyond the three schools to all of the schools we have within CMS, you actually have positions that need to be filled by social workers to do this work, so it would create a pipeline for our students to graduate and move right into some of the work they’re already doing,” he said.

The pathway could also assist with the Queen City initiative to increase upward mobility; a priority high on President Clarence D. Armbrister’s list.

Single Stop is making its mark in the Charlotte region. According to Moore, since its partnership began with JCSU three years ago, more than 500 families have benefited. In the future, she hopes JCSU will be able to provide funding to the program and help assist more families.

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