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Spectra Care’s event in Berlin to benefit county veterans

‘Every dollar goes back to our programs’

The Spectra Care Foundation – a nonprofit organization aimed at helping those in need, will host a “Honor our Heroes” gala in Berlin on Sept. 24 to both honor and benefit South Jersey veterans.

Run by husband and wife Michael and Kathleen Van Stine, along with a host of committed volunteers, Spectra Care prides itself on providing veterans and seniors and at-risk animals with a quality array of services that enhance community and family values, while encouraging individual growth and protection from harm. The Van Stines both come from families with military backgrounds and careers in senior services, so helping seniors and veterans is of great importance to them. “So often, people come back [from serving] or age in place and think they are alone, but they are not,” she added.

 The foundation offers multiple avenues for help, including PTSD therapy classes in art, photography and gardening, pet and animal therapy and food pantry services. Most of its work is centered at the Carlton R. Rouh Veterans Center in Lindenwold, a newly renovated facility housing both service and recreational spaces. Included there are also counseling offices, “quiet rooms” for relaxation and televisions for movie nights and social gatherings, a renovated kitchen and outdoor areas next to a freshwater creek.

 The therapy classes are 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.

 “One form of caring and sharing pain can also lead to helping in other ways. For example, during one of our recent painting classes, we had a veteran who asked for help with finding homelessness resources,” said Kathleen.

 “He didn’t ask for sympathy, he just asked for some direction, and we connected him with places he could go for help.” “And then guess what? A month later he came in and told us he now has an apartment and a full-time job,’” she recalled.

 Kathleen explained all of this has been possible only 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 share food and inspiration from a number of guest and motivational speakers. Above all, they will 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.

 The gala will be held in Berlin at Paris Caterers. Tickets are $100 and include a meal, wine and beer, and a gift for all those who attend. Virtual tickets of $50 are also available.

 In person tickets are available through Sept. 9.  Virtual tickets can be purchased up until Sept. 9. Sponsorships are accepted up to Sept. 9 and all other donations are welcome up to the gala.

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