BURGAW, N.C. (WECT) - Mt. Calvary Center for Leadership Development is offering a quarantine support program for anyone directed to quarantine because of exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or testing positive yourself.

The Mt. Calvary Community Healthcare Workers program is supported by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to help those who may face loss of income cover basic needs.

Anyone living in Bladen, Columbus, Duplin, Robeson or Sampson county can apply for nutrition assistance in getting meals or groceries, medical delivery, transportation to doctors appointments and one-time financial payments for living expenses like rent and utilities.

To find out more information on how to get help call the center at 910-300-6322.

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PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - A new group of people came together Wednesday to address racial and social injustice in our area.

It was the first meeting of the group assembled by former Pender County commissioner Jimmy Tate of the Mount Calvary Center for Leadership Development. It featured community leaders, leaders in education, religious groups and law enforcement.

On her second day as New Hanover County’s Chief Diversity Officer, Linda Thompson emceed the meeting on Zoom with many attendees participating virtually, saying “change begins with a simple conversation."

Tate says a lot of community members are looking for leadership and a way to come together in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the ensuing nationwide protests.

“People really want something done about it and they want us to come together and address the issue and that’s what we’re doing,” said Tate.

“The make up of this group is extraordinary,” said Pender County NAACP President Rev. Dante Murphy. “I think you have people that are well, representative of every walk in life when it comes to our local community.”

Some are ready to speak up—and others are ready to listen and engage in intimate conversation.

“We have an opportunity to have an open dialogue as to how we live and react and interface with one with the other,” said Pender County Commissioner Jackie Newton.

The group has representatives from Pender, Duplin and New Hanover counties.

Wallace Police Chief James Crayton said, “I and everyone else in this country can be better and until we all recognize that and start doing what we can to be better, we’re going to keep treading water and not advance.”

The task force plans to meet monthly and intends to break into smaller groups to address specific issues and tasks, but it is the action they hope will come next that many are looking forward to.

“We must remember that meeting alone, meetings alone, do not change culture,” Murphy said. “We must not only talk the talk but we’ve gotta get to a point of talking the walk, but then our greatest challenge is walking the walk.”

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BURGAW, N.C. (WECT) - Help is on the way for people across southeastern North Carolina that may have come in contact with someone infected with COVID-19.

The Mount Calvary Center for Leadership Development is one of seven vendors granted funding from NC DHHS to hire and manage more than 250 community health workers. The leadership center has a headquarters in Burgaw, but serves Pender, Duplin, Bladen, Columbus, Sampson and Robeson counties. The facility is now in the process of recruiting and training 20 people who will go on to work with local health departments to carry out contact tracing and make sure individuals know there’s help available if they need things like supplies, housing, transportation, mental health support or even legal help. The group already has a line of communication with the people of rural North Carolina and they’ve heard firsthand what the needs are.

“Sometimes its intimidating for people to go out and seek help, because they don’t know where to go or who to ask, but by the community health workers actually reaching out to individuals, it makes it more personal and it feels more like they’re having a conversation and maybe they can open up a little bit more and say ‘yes I do need food, I do need transportation, I am having problems paying my rent right now,‘”said executive director Lisa Robinson.

Contracting the virus or being forced to quarantine for two weeks is a challenge for anyone, but can be especially devastating for people who are already struggling to make ends meet. “I want the community to know that help is on the way. Someone is coming. There may be someone who is isolated or going through quarantine and they’re just like ‘What do I do? I cant go anywhere, I’m stuck in the house the next two weeks and I need food, I need medication, I need supplies,‘” said Robinson. “I want them to know help is on the way, we’re going to get whatever it is you need.” The Mount Calvary Center for Leadership Development has been hosting events all summer to educate the community about the virus and how they can get get help for their business or even emotional support from a licensed counselor. Helping people during the pandemic is not new to them, but staff say they’re excited to have been granted the opportunity to connect with more people with DHHS resources.

“We want to see our community strong and recover and back like it was prior to everything going on right now,” added Robinson.

Staff hopes to have teams trained and ready to go in the next two to three weeks. The center is still working to fill more than a dozen positions. People with experience in healthcare or community outreach are especially encouraged to apply, as well as bilingual candidates. The online application is live now and can be accessed here.

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