A place of giving in the midst of coronavirus crisis

A place of giving in the midst of coronavirus crisis

When it comes to the new coronavirus, older people are particularly vulnerable to severe illness. Research shows that senior citizens, especially those with preexisting medical conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes are more likely to have more severe — even deadly — coronavirus infections than other age groups.

Stepping in to help senior citizens and those in need is The Males Place and Brewington Farms.

“Today, we largely want to serve the seniors and those that are in need in the Beatties Ford Road corridor which we know has over twice as much poverty,” said Reggie Singleton, executive director of The Males Place. “It's being really magnified during COVID. We see food insecurity and economic disparities in addition to chronic disease and how those manifest to needless deaths.”

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The Males Place is a vibrant multicultural community that has mentored more than 3,000 youth, making their program one of the largest mentoring organizations in North Carolina.

Cars lined up in front of The Males Place community garden to receive fresh produce from Brewington Farms.

Mentees in The Males Place program devote significant time, energy and resources to the planning, planting design and launch of a community garden on Charlotte’s west side, providing free fresh vegetables to impoverished local neighborhoods where they lack ready access to fresh produce.

“Through the use of mentorship, agriculture and community service to lead (mentees) into adulthood to manhood, we believe that this philosophy that you inculcate, train and instill the values that will lead them into being a responsible individual,” Singleton said.

“We are a hands on, front-line organization that provides prescriptive solutions to the needs and interest of our youth, community and people.”

Paul Brewington, owner and operator of Brewington Farms, wanted to bring healthy food options to the neighborhood, and has partnered with The Males Place.

“This virus is affecting the majority of people of color,” Brewington said. "It is primarily because of our diets. They got to have something, you know, to help the immune system.”

Paul Brewington, owner and operator of Brewington Farms
Paul Brewington, owner and operator of Brewington Farms

As the need in our city continues to grow, the coronavirus has complicated reaching those people most in need.

“We think it's important that African Americans be fully engaged in the food system and provide those life-sustaining foods to our community,” Singleton said.

The Males Place mentees participate in a wide range of special interest community service programs and performing and visual arts programs, so this community day of giving is just another one of the many ways these incredible young men serve the Charlotte community.

“The good Lord has been good to me. I've been well blessed,” Brewington said.

"I was brought up and raised the way my father was. He would plant acres of produce and just give it out to the needy.”

With the long-term ramifications of the virus uncertain, including how the virus will affect the population in need, The Males Place will help for as long as the need remains.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, this is another example of amazing people helping people.

“Everything we do we always share it with someone else,” Brewington said. “That's my family because it's the right thing to do.”

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte public affairs manager, at Kevin.Campbell@wsoctv.com.