“I had to really dig deep, find a way to problem solve and not be afraid to ask for help,” Ramseur said in a video interview during Thursday’s “Gather and Give” holiday event of the 1,800-member, all-woman Good Friends Charlotte organization.
Good Friends came to her aid with money to cover her rent.
The organization surpassed last year’s record-breaking total at its 34th annual holiday event that occurred virtually on Thursday due to the coronavirus pandemic, president Anne McPhail said.
Last year, members raised over $500,000. Thursday’s “Gather & Give” program was held live virtually and continued in small groups across the city during lunch and after work, she said.
“Good Friends Day is ongoing,” McPhail said late in the afternoon. “Thus far, we are grateful for the generosity of many women across Charlotte who have donated well over $500,000 in a time of such extraordinary need.”
“While 2020 means that our annual gathering looks a bit different, the tradition of Good Friends remains the same,” luncheon chair Sally Van Allen said at the virtual gathering. “And this year, the need in our community has grown.”
Ramseur and her children are among 3,000 families Good Friends has helped one way or another this year, including assistance that kept 1,557 families in safe shelter, according to the organization.
Good Friends helped 160 families gain internet access — a critical need with students learning remotely because of the pandemic.
The organization helped pay medical bills for 100 children and their families and utility bills for 150 families, while providing meals for veterans
Last year, Good Friends members set a record for the organization by contributing over $500,000 at the annual holiday event. This year’s total will be released in the next few days, leaders said.
Since friends Catherine Browning, Alice Folger, Patty Norman and Sally Saussy founded the annual event in 1987, Good Friends has given over $5 million in help to local children and adults.
The organization patterned the holiday giving event after that of the all-male Good Fellows Club in Charlotte. Its virtual event on Wednesday raised $1 million for people in need — the fourth time the 104-year-old club raised that amount.
Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles belongs to Good Friends. “I give because people have given to me,” she said in a video interview during Thursday’s virtual gathering ”It’s part of my family’s heritage to give back.”
Mary Katherine Falls, a third-generation member, said she’s seen the impact Good Friends has made on Charlotte in her four years attending the luncheons, “and I would like to continue that trend.”
For Sonja Nichols, a Good Friends life member and former president, “one of the beauties of Good Friends is we’re able to help individuals in ways a lot of our bigger non-profits or social organizations are not able to take care of individuals.
“Part of my motivation is, if you take a moment to just step back and think, if it were me, what kind of help would I need,” Nichols said.
Good Friends works with 80 community partners that refer people in need to them, including Ramseur and her children.
“When Good Friends stepped in to help me, it literally took a weight off my shoulders,” Ramseur said.
“And having the community that you know that’s going to back you and support you, and make sure you are set up for success, it kind of adds an extra layer of motivation and makes you more determined,” Ramseur said. “You have to be willing to say, I can’t do this by myself.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you for what you do,” she said of Good Friends, “and investing in people like me.”
WAYS TO GIVE
▪ Mail check to Good Friends Charlotte, 1307 W. Morehead St. #207, Charlotte NC 28208
▪ Donate online at GoodFriendsCharlotte.org.