University City Based Organization Responds to Community Needs During COVID-19 Outbreak


UCITY Family Zone, a community organization focused on geography in and around University City, is helping to meet community needs during the coronavirus outbreak. Ignited by Family Zone partners, UCITY Family Zone COVID-19 Response Group was created for residents to mitigate needs in and around zip codes 28262 and 28213. The group has members volunteering in the community and has created a suite of resources for area residents and businesses.

“We appreciate so much the leadership and commitment of our community partners to come together and support our neighbors,” said Mark DeHaven, Distinguished Professor of Community Health, UNC College of Health and Human Services and Founding Director of UCITY Family Zone. “The needs of our community are great – but so are our resources. It is truly inspirational what we can accomplish and how we can lift the entire community when we work together with everyone pulling in one direction.”

UCITY Family Zone COVID-19 Response Group holds three virtual meetings each week to discuss urgent community needs and coordinate action plans. For example, immediately following the initial announcement of Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools closings, the response group identified neighborhoods with children in need of access to meals during the day. Heal Charlotte, The Community Hub, Men of Destiny, Stonebridge Community Church and other UCITY Family Zone members worked with area food pantries, restaurants like 5Church and volunteers to deliver meals each weekday to neighborhoods in need. Through collaboration with the Response Group, Faith CME Church, HOPE Street Food Pantry, and other local food pantries that were facing shortages have received donations from University City United Methodist Church and other local partners to supplement the supplies they would normally receive from Loaves and Fishes, which has faced shortages due to high-demand.

In addition to food security, the COVID-19 Response Group is addressing other areas of need for the UCITY Family Zone community. The complete areas of focus include:

  • Food security: access to meals and updates on food pantry hours and availability
  • Economic stability: sharing resources for utility assistance and discounted or free services
  • Education: tutoring, wifi access for tablet and laptop access
  • COVID-19 Safety: sharing updated mandates and tips for self-isolation and sheltering in place, hand washing tips and transportation options
  • Grants and funding: emergency response funds and newly available grants
  • Health: updates from hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and the like
  • Housing: where and how to request rental and mortgage assistance, or delays for evictions

UCITY Family Zone is seeking resources and needs on a continuous basis throughout the coronavirus outbreak. Those seeking to support efforts, or report needs should email