The Spectra Care Foundation – a nonprofit organization aimed at helping those in need, will host a gala in Berlin on Sept. 24 to benefit Camden County veterans.
Run by husband and wife Michael and Kathleen Van Stine, Spectra Care prides itself on enhancing community, family, individual growth and protection from harm. The Van Stines both come from families with military backgrounds, so helping veterans is of great importance to them.
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t revolve around us … We are just community people. Without the community, none of this would be possible,” said Kathleen.
The foundation offers multiple avenues for help, including pet and animal therapy, food pantry services, therapeutic and rehabilitation services and the Carlton Rouh Veterans Center in Lindenwold, a converted doctor’s office now under construction.
Spectra Care also offers classes where veterans can draw and paint to help ease anxiety, one of the issues they face after their military service. The foundation’s worry-free environment welcomes difficult conversations.
“During one of our painting classes, we had a veteran who actually asked for help with finding homelessness resources,” said Kathleen. “He didn’t ask for sympathy, he asked for resources, and [the other] people showed him [places] for help.
“A month later he reached out and said, ‘Guess what? I now have an apartment and a full-time job,’” she recalled.
After construction is complete, the veterans center will include a new kitchen, office spaces, “quiet rooms” for relaxation and televisions for movie nights and social gatherings. Kathleen explained all of that is possible because of donations from the community who share the foundation’s vision.
“All of this money we receive goes back into the foundation,” she stressed. “Nobody on the board accepts a salary or payment for what we do. It is really just about these people and helping them [get to a better place].
“Every dollar goes back to [our] programs.”
At the gala, guests will eat and drink and most importantly, gather with people in the community to improve the environment for veterans. Kathleen said much of the reason why these events are held is to let veterans know there are people who care about them.
“So often, people come back [from serving] and think they are alone, but they are not,” she added.
The gala will be held in Berlin at Paris Caterers. Tickets are $100 and include a meal, drinks and gifts for all those who attend. Virtual tickets of $50 are also available.
All tickets for the event are available through mid-September. Virtual tickets can be purchased up until the day of the gala. Donations and sponsorships are also accepted by reaching out to the foundation.