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A Moorestown resident pays it forward

Cybil Jackson helps the children of MEND

Moorestown resident Cybil Jackson helped those in her community by donating $50 sneaker gift cards to 25 school-age children of the Moorestown Ecumenical Neighborhood Development, Inc (MEND).

“I’ve been residing in Moorestown now (for) almost 10 years,” Jackson said. “I moved here back in 2012. When I moved here, I was newly divorced. I was previously in the mortgage industry and displaced from working because of that. I had then started going back to school to become a respiratory therapist.”

After coming across an article about MEND, Jackson’s mother advised her to apply for housing. After completing the required paperwork to qualify, Jackson became a resident of MEND’S Baylor Arms apartment community for nearly five years.

“We moved from Mount Laurel to Moorestown back in March of 2012,” she recalled. “I attended school (and) we were kind of on a fixed income at the time, but everything was affordable with the housing and everything with MEND.”

“It was what we needed at the time.”

MEND’s mission is to maintain and expand the supply of affordable rental housing for low- and moderate-income households using its vision, experience and expertise. Since its inception, the organization has developed more than 771 affordable housing apartments for single adults, senior citizens, those with special needs and families in 30 different South Jersey locations.

“They would give gifts and different things that would help us … because I was on a fixed income and things were kind of hard at the time,” Jackson said of MEND.

Today, Jackson is a respiratory therapist inspired to help families in need.

“ … I (had) been in a situation for a while where I was ahead and able to help out, so I just wanted to do something to be able to help out in my own community and be able to give back,” she recounted.

“ … It was an idea that I came up with as far as with the gift cards, being able to give back to some of the kids. Just to be able to help out … I wanted to be able to donate to 25 of the students and be able to help them out with some back-to-school things.”

Jackson praised MEND and the community she calls home and explained why she chose to donate $50 sneaker gift cards.

“The reason why I picked sneakers was because going to school, kids always want a new pair of sneakers,” she noted. “That’s the trend … I said, ‘The key thing is this, they can see a pair of sneakers they may want for $100, which for a single mom who’s working, it can be hard for her. But if we contribute $50 toward it, then she only has to put toward it $50 herself.”

“That can make it more possible for her,” Jackson added. “So that’s where the idea came from for me.”

Jackson praised both MEND and Moorestown.

“It was a big help for me, for my family,” she said. “Moorestown is a really, really good area … They have a really good school district, so my children were able to attend a really good school area. With the complex being affordable housing, that was one thing that was a plus for me.”

For more information on MEND, visit https://mendinc.org.

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