Farmer’s market takes fresh look at helping local farmers and missions

Founders Leconte Lee and Nick Knock sell produce at the first go-go fresco, a weekly “pop-up” farmer’s market, designed to benefit local farmers and nonprofit missions. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

Founders Leconte Lee and Nick Knock sell produce at the first go-go fresco, a weekly “pop-up” farmer’s market, designed to benefit local farmers and nonprofit missions. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

A new, Mint Hill-based farmer’s market is bringing a fresh way to support local farmers and local nonprofits to the Charlotte area.

Founders Nick Knock and Leconte Lee combined their passions of health and public service to create go-go fresco, a new kind of farmer’s market.

Go-go fresco brings fresh produce from local farms like Barbee Farms and The Farm at Dover Vineyards to sell at different locations around Charlotte, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting local nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity and Charlotte Rescue Mission.

The idea came to Knock as he was riding his bike to the coffee shop one day, and from there it snowballed into a new take on both charity and produce.

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A special birthday request

 

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Abigael Aycock is 8 years old. Her birthday was February 9. There was a party with friends, family, games, and fun, but one thing was missing: presents.

Abby didn’t want any presents for her birthday–not for herself anyway. She wanted anyone who was going to buy her presents to buy a pair of shoes, to be donated to those in need.

“We have massive birthdays, and I always try to something really cool and memorable for their birthdays,” said Elizabeth Aycock, Abby’s mother.

The idea came last August, from a commercial about a girl in Texas, who gathered 300 pairs of shoes for charity, and Abby told her mother that she wanted a big birthday party with lots of friends, and for presents: shoes.

Abby’s reasoning behind the charity is straightforward and plain, “It’s nice,” she said. “And I’d be growing closer to God.”

Thirty-one pairs of shoes were gathered at the party and then donated to A Child’s Place, which will give them to homeless children in Mecklenburg County.

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Bright Blessings celebrates MLK Day with service marathon

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2013, a group of local volunteers worked through the day to provide help and some happiness to local homeless children.

Throughout the day, 140 people worked to wrap books and birthday gift sets, create birthday cards, hygiene kits, make pillows, and more. 

Bright Blessings, a nonprofit organization in Matthews, hosted the day of service at their “Giving Village” in Matthews, in honor of MLK Day, providing area volunteers a way to help homeless children in the greater Charlotte region.
In 2005, co-founder Amy Cervantes started Bright Blessings with her husband John after a birthday party for their eldest son, who was turning three. 
“Well here was Alex, and he was surrounded by all these family and friends and beaming with joy and feeling very, very special and loved,” Cervantes said. “What about kids who maybe don’t get to experience that, and that led us to think about homeless childrenčdo they have a chance to celebrate their birthdays?”
The program was also founded to promote volunteerism and service among community members.
“Part of our mission here at Bright Blessings is not only to serve the homeless population, but to also encourage volunteerism through the community, and especially with families,” Cervantes said.
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Analyzing charitable giving

National Public Radio’s Morning Edition recently aired a story about a report published by the Chronicle of Philanthropy regarding the geography of charitable donations.  Morning Edition looked at the data on a national level and found that lower-income Americans donate a larger percentage of their money than do the wealthy.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy explained that it obtained tax records from the IRS for 2008 and looked at charitable claims.  They only looked at data from households making $50,000 or more that year.  This study does not give the most accurate picture of charitable giving, but it can show general patterns of giving, both economically and geographically.

The top three most charitable states are Utah, D.C., and Mississippi, and the three lowest are Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire.  The study provides data by nation, state, and zip code.  So where does Mint Hill stand?

The zip code 28227 shows a total contribution of $23.6 million in 2008.  The median income was $49,888, and the median contribution was $3,144, meaning the percentage of giving per household was 6.3.  Mecklenburg County was at 6.7 percent, North Carolina was 5.9 percent (ranked ninth nationally), and the nation was 4.7 percent.

The study provides data for 28227 by income level as well, and the numbers support Morning Edition’s story about lower-income households donating a larger percentage.  Mint Hill households making $50,000-99,999 a year donated 7.6 percent of their income; those in the $100,000-199,999 range donated 5.7 percent; and those making $200,000 or more donated 5.8 percent.

Mint Hill’s neighbors in Matthews (zip code 28105) gave six percent of their income and a total 2008 contribution of $31.8 million.  Indian Trail (28079) gave 5.1 percent.

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