Monmouth's Ask The Doctor March-April 2020

Shine and Inspire, Inc. Helping People In Need While Inspiring Them To Pay it Forward By Pam Teel

Shine and Inspire, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization whose mission is to enhance the quali- ty of life for those in Mercer County, NJ. The non-profit is funded by charitable gifts of local businesses and community members and is based on the idea of Paying it Forward. Carol Feldman, Shine and Inspires founder, had always wanted to start a non-profit and was fas- cinated by the idea of making a difference in people’s lives by gifting them something that they need to enhance their quality of life. Carol, who officially started the organization in 2012, wanted the non-profit to not just to be about giving but also about empowering gift recipients and encouraging them to do something for someone else, their communities and/or their schools. Her motto is, “If we help you shine, what will that inspire you to do?” The Shine and Inspire application process is simple. Those wishing for a necessity that they can’t afford, go to the non-profit’s website and fill out an application. They might ask for such things as a special handicapped equipped bed, a new washer, or a mattress and bed. The request could even be for

a new wardrobe or a makeover to start a new job. There is also an application for businesses to donate their skilled services. An applicant might need a house painted or home repair work done, or even a room makeover for a sick child. If you are a contractor, hair dresser, painter, career coach, interior designer, or other professional, a donation of your time is much appreciated.

Presently, Shine and Inspire services Mercer County, but the non-profit has never denied people from other counties. In fact, Ms. Feldman is looking to expand into other counties and welcomes hearing from other non-profits interested in partnering with Shine and Inspire. Just because you don’t see neediness in your area, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. In Trenton alone, over 260 children at any given time are displaced and homeless and living in motels and on other people’s couches. Many low income and displaced children don’t go to school because they can’t afford basic needs. Many students who receive free or reduced lunch don’t have food when they are not in school. These students are in desperate need of soap, shampoo, detergent, personal hygiene products, school supplies, hats, gloves, clothing, and non-perishable food and snacks. This need has inspired Shine and Inspire to launch an offshoot program of opening Shine and Inspire Closets to give children access to these essentials. Ewing High School is the first school to embrace the idea of opening a Shine and Inspire Closet. A teacher at the school organized it and is Paying it Forward with the help of her students to keep the closet stocked. Others schools and businesses have followed. To date there are eight Shine and Inspire Closets in the Mercer area. A Shine and Inspire closet is a wonderful community service project for schools, Boy/Girl Scouts, and other organizations. If you would like to open a closet in your school or organize a collection at your school, church, or business, you can go onto the website for more information about the Shine and Inspire closets.

Twice a year, Shine and Inspire holds an Afternoon to Shine party for disadvantaged children. The children come to them by referrals. Before the party, parents fill out forms stating what the children are in dire need of. Each child has a sponsor who helps purchase the gifts. Gifts could range from much needed clothing, to toys, to bedding. Each child also receives a hat, gloves and a coat. In the summer, sponsors help out by filling new backpack with items that the child might need. If you wish to become a sponsor please email the website below. Sponsors, Pay it Forward, and tell your friends and relations to join up too! The more sponsors, the more kids Shine and Inspire can reach out to! You can help put a smile on their faces and make it an even more special day. Upcoming Fundraisers June 22nd -A Purple Night to Shine. A dance party at Prospectors in Mount Laurel, N.J. It’s Carol’s birthday and everybody dresses in Purple. Come and join the fun! October 9th -A Night to Shine Fashion Edition- A wonderful fashion show with clothes by Lord and Taylor. There will be vendors, a huge tricky tray raffle, dinner, and celebrity models!! Shine and Inspire’s mission would not be possible without you and we thank you. Make a difference in someone’s life and it will make a difference in yours! For more information: www.shineand / Make a donation today,

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