Servant’s Heart: Making good things happen in our community for over three years

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Local assistance program and community boutique Servant’s Heart warmed the hearts of many with an incredible year in 2019, serving over 4600 people in need right here in the Mint Hill community.

In its three years in existence, Servant’s Heart has served 13,000 people.  “Even to me, the person who’s been here facilitating those services, that is a really big number for only three years!” points out Founder and Executive Director Kim Rhodarmer.  “Some people are very quick to say, ‘Do we really have needy people in Mint Hill?’ There are people who are struggling on a monthly basis.”

One of Servant’s Heart’s big successes this year was their Emergency Food Pantry.  Thanks in part to generous donations from St. Luke’s Catholic Church, Servant’s Heart was able to nearly triple the amount they gave out, sending just over $15K of goods out the door versus 2018’s total of $5800.

Another successful continuing endeavor for Servant’s Heart in 2019 was their Non-Food Pantry, which helps supply clients with twenty-five specific items commonly used by families on a daily or weekly basis.  The Non-Food Pantry is a unique program developed by Rhodarmer to bridge the gap between items covered by food stamps and necessities for daily living.  

“As far as I’m aware there’s nothing like it in our entire Charlotte area,” says Rhodarmer.  “One of the things that people just don’t know – and how would they know except if they’re a social worker or they work at a grocery store or they’ve actually been the recipient of food stamps? – is that food stamps do not pay for toilet paper, laundry detergent, shampoo, or toothpaste.  Those of us who have never received food stamps just have no understanding as to what food stamps will not purchase.”

Rhodarmer’s Non-Food pantry meets a critical and growing need in our community.  Despite continued donations to the Non-Food pantry, Rhodarmer struggled to keep it even minimally outfitted at times throughout 2019.  “When I ran the numbers from 2018 to 2019, it became clear why I struggled,” says Rhodarmer. “We’ve had the same amount of donors. However, they were satisfying almost $25,000 going out the door. In 2019, it was a little over $34,000 of those same items that went out the door.”

Bill Pay Assistance is a new program that started at Servant’s Heart in 2019.  Partnering with Duke Energy and Union Power Cooperative, Servant’s Heart put $14,500 toward keeping the electricity on for 67 families between July and December.  In 2020, Rhodarmer hopes to work with Charlotte Water to add water utilities to their Bill Pay program.

A new program coming to Servant’s Heart in 2020 is their one-on-one budgeting program.  A group of professionals trained in financial budgeting will meet one-on-one with clients in a private setting close to Servant’s Heart with the aim of setting them up for financial success.  “That person will meet with our client as many times as they feel like they need to meet to get that budget working the way it needs to work for that family, all at no cost to our clients,” says Rhodarmer, who hopes to start the one-on-one budgeting program in March of 2020.

Another growing and successful program in 2019 was Turkey Tuesday, through which Servant’s Heart provides a Thanksgiving meal to clients.  “We were just thrilled this past year to be able to give food that accommodated 488 people, $15K of food that went out on pretty much one single day,” says Rhodarmer.  “This year we were able to do something that we’ve never been able to do in the past. Thanks to two or three significant donors who gave money, I could buy an additional $15 gift card from Food Lion to go to each of these families so that they can buy a specific spice, or maybe a specific side dish or dessert or drink that would just make their meal complete.”

“An extra $15 doesn’t sound like much of anything to me and you,” continues Rhodarmer, “But one of the things that I’m always mindful of at Servant’s Heart is if I were the client, what would be the ideal situation for me coming to Servant’s Heart and receiving a service?  An extra $15 is the difference between my clients having that little bit of extra grocery money to be able to buy the finishing touches to their meal or not having that.”

Christmas is always a special time for serving clients at Servant’s Heart, and 2019 was no different.  In 2019, they gave out over $32K to accommodate the needs of 426 children, almost 100 more than they served in 2018.  $9500 of that $32K was gift cards for teenagers in college, a unique aspect of Servant’s Heart’s Christmas assistance program  “I don’t know of another organization that helps with Christmas for children beyond twelfth grade or beyond 18 years of age,” says Rhodarmer.  “Typically, one of those two is a cutoff. Our position is if a child is in college to better their future, and they’re still under their parents’ financial umbrella, why would we not support that?”

For the first time in 2017, Servant’s Heart staged a “pop up” Christmas event.  With their client’s needs satisfied, they loaded the toys they had left into a U-Haul and brought them to a mobile home park where they were able to help make Christmas a little better for a group of people they weren’t already reaching.

“That was a fabulous thing to have done that year, but at the end of that day, I thought, you know what?  There has to be a better way to do this, where people aren’t standing out in the cold for two to four hours,” says Rhodarmer.  This year, Rhodarmer elected to serve additional clients at Servant’s Heart. In addition to avoiding the expense and disarray of packing everything up and transporting it by U-Haul, it also helped expose a new group of potential clients to all the services Servant’s Heart offers.

“When people come here for that particular service, that’s probably the first time they’ve interfaced with us,” says Rhodarmer.  “That allows them familiarity with where Servant’s Heart is located. As they walk down our assistance hallway, they’re visually seeing other programs that we can help them with at a later date. So, they will come back, they have been coming back.”  On that day alone, Servant’s Heart was able to serve 79 additional children.

Servant’s Heart currently has about 100 volunteers that serve on a weekly basis.  Volunteers at Servant’s Heart accomplish a wide variety of tasks from sorting and pricing new donations to assisting customers and ringing up purchases in the boutique.  Servant’s Heart is always looking for more volunteers, especially individuals who can work on Saturdays. Additionally, Rhodarmer is looking for “lead volunteers” for each of her assistance programs, for example, a “coupon queen” who can help stretch the money donated to stock the food and non-food pantries.  She’s also looking for individuals interested in volunteering their time to head up seasonal programs like Back to School, Turkey Tuesday and Christmas assistance.

In the retail boutique, Servant’s Heart is currently holding a raffle: anyone who makes a purchase of $25 or more gets their name in a drawing for a $75 Outback gift card.  Near the end of February or the beginning of March, expect to see the boutique’s inventory switch over from winter to spring.  

To learn more about Servant’s Heart’s assistance programs, volunteer needs and retail boutique, visit

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Mary Beth Foster
Mary Beth Foster works part time as an essay specialist at Charlotte Latin School and full time as a mom to her five-year-old daughter Hannah and her two-year-old son Henry. Prior to having children, she worked as a high school English teacher for nine years. Most recently, she chaired the English department at Queen's Grant High School. She and her husband have lived in Mint Hill with their children and their cats since 2011. Email: