Female pastor shows kindness by assisting those in need

Sharmaine Byrd, pastor of Greater Mount Carmel Cathedral and Worship Center in Brooklyn.
Photo by Cedric Wooten

Sharmaine Byrd is a native of NYC, and a pastor of Greater Mount Carmel Cathedral and Worship Center in Brooklyn. It may surprise many to know that her parents were drug addicts at the time of her birth.

Byrd has only visited The Bahamas where her maternal great grandfather is a native of its capital, Nassau. Something from her Caribbean roots that she believes is: “Our family is also those who aren’t blood related, but are those who are in and from our village.”

Her paternal grandmother raised her, and Byrd sees her as the greatest influence on her path in life. “She insisted and instilled in me to be compassionate and help others because someone helped you,” she said.

She had just gotten laid off from her job, she had simultaneously just started pastoring, when she decided to create her nonprofit, Community, Conversation and Collaboration Inc. (CCC).

“It was my high at my lowest time. I realized that when people are going through life they need support. In our communities sometimes there are resources but no real support,” she added.

CCC helps provide services and resources to underserved communities in Brooklyn, through things such as food distribution, cash assistance/economic emergencies, GED preparation/job readiness, and peer mediation/conflict resolution. In addition, the organization also has a men’s mental health group.

Despite all the great work CCC Inc. has done, Byrd still feels that more needs to be done.  “We operate and distribute every week, no matter what the weather is, no matter if we have a little or a lot. We certainly need more realistic mental health support,” she continued.

Byrd states the 2022 “Get on the Bus” College Tour as her biggest success story thus far, with running CCC. The organization took adult men and young men between the ages of 9 to 16 to Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. The tour was guided by one of MSU’s alumni.

“We had grown men who had never been on a college campus before this experience. We took young men who had never been out of the city. We were able to hear from freshmen who are connected to our organization through our volunteers,” Byrd stated.

The experience gave attendees who had never thought about attending college the opportunity to dream of attending college. It was a very emotional and impactful day. We still are all connected and look forward to the 2024 “Get on the Bus” experience.

“One of the biggest challenges we will begin facing is not having enough food for those in need. This challenge will bring about so many other dire situations in our already under-served life,” added Byrd.

Byrd wants people to know: CCC “delivers all services, support, and resources without financial funding. We do the work and can have a greater impact if we get funding.”

According to Byrd, CCC plans “on fundraising in 2024, so we can continue the work and reach more people.”