Hi everyone! I wanted to start my blog with a short introduction of who I am, the who, what, and whys of Operation South Jersey and what the purpose of my blog will be.
My name is Hillary and I was born and raised in South Jersey. I have a beautiful son that I completely adore and being a mom is my number one job. For a living, I am a Social Media Marketer for CASA of CGS and Family Strengthening Network. I am also part time at my family owned business in Shiloh, Cooks Cleaners. I am currently furthering my education at CCC, trying to tackle a double major of Fine Arts and Business Management. In my spare time I love to travel near and far, play with photography, paint, and go camping with my family. Also, in my spare time I love to volunteer and give back to the community. Which brings me to the reason behind Operation South Jersey. My passion for helping the homeless began years ago after being assigned to a project called "Operation: Camden" with a company called Splashlife. We roamed the streets of Camden, visited a tent city, interviewed the homeless, documented their stories through film and pictures. Our mission was to give a voice to the unheard. How many times have you walked by the homeless and avoided eye contact and/or any communication? Where would your confidence stand if you were constantly ignored and shamed? They are no less human than you and me, so why treat them like so? It's time to make a difference, to give back and help the homeless, it's not to late.
I began advocating regularly for the homeless in 2013 and after some time, questions from friends and family started to pour in. Majority of the questions were and still are, "Where and what can I donate?" In order to keep it simple for my family and friend, I began collecting their donations to help satisfy myself knowing the items were donated right to the source. It wasn't until I became apart of the event committee for Family Strengthening Network's event "South Jersey Family Day of Service" that I realized that people are more open to give and help when projects and drives are already in place. The Family Day of Service came and left, with much success, but I wanted to continue creating project ideas, focusing strictly on helping the homeless in South Jersey.
OSJ is still new and we are still learning the ropes but the journey has been fulfilling. Our goal is to inspire and motivate others to give back to their community and in return inspire and motivate their friends and family. Not only is volunteering and giving back good for your health but it teaches great life lessons and sets a great example for our kids and younger generations. The purpose of this blog will be to share project ideas, ways to empower your children to give, feature local shelters and soup kitchens to donate too, share list of donations needed, and more. Feel free to contact me with any questions, ideas, collaborations or thoughts. You can also sign up for our newsletter, on the home page and contact page in order to receive updates through email. Thanks for stopping by!
The picture below, is one of my shots of a tent city for homeless veterans that appeared on billboards throughout South Jersey as a part of a campaign to raise awareness of the plight of our veterans.