2022 Kind Neighbor Nomination Winner: Jennifer Whitewing
Congratulations to Jennifer Whitewing for being selected as our 2021 Kind Neighbor Nomination Winner! Jennifer was nominated for hosting a free swap and shop for gently used kids’ clothes and toys. She started collecting items from families she knew at Charleston Bilingual Academy and then set up a free yard sale style shopping event in early November. Families from all over the region were able to come and “shop” for free for their kids’ clothing and toy needs. Everything that was left over was donated to community groups like Lowcountry Orphan Relief.
Jennifer is a USAF Veteran, originally from upstate New York. Jennifer has a heart for helping animals, small businesses, and children. Whether she is donating blood or platelets to help save a life or volunteering for a pit bull rescue, she is passionate about helping improve the lives of others. She and her partner are small business owners with LegalShield, where for 5 years, they successfully ran a free networking event for small businesses to help one another thrive while giving business back to local restaurants. Her focus shifted to her son when he was born and started attending Charleston Bilingual Academy at the age of four. CBA opened her eyes and heart to a school that exists to inspire world changers through Christ-centered, intercultural, immersion-based education. She found herself volunteering so often that the Headmaster, Dr. Nate Johnson, gave her the title “Volunteer Coordinator”!
Jennifer wanted to ensure families were helping each other and the community as much as possible, so in 2021 and again in 2022, she and other CBA volunteers helped coordinate a free clothing/book/toy exchange, known as “Swap & Shop”. It has been a well-perceived event that all families, both giving and receiving, truly appreciate. Once the event is over, the remaining items get donated to Lowcountry Orphan Relief, Closet of Hope, Recycled Love, and a ton of shoes and winter items are brought to the Mission Trip that CBA staff members organize annually.
A word from our winner:
“I am overjoyed that a friend and fellow CBA mom nominated me for the Kind Neighbor Nomination! This just proves how amazing this school and the families are that attend and how supportive we are of one another. I by no means want to give accolades to myself because it’s a team effort of many volunteers and so many hours of organizing the Swap & Shop. I hope this will bring more attention to next year’s big event so that even more families will participate.
In a world that seems to be turning us against each other, it is all that more important that we support one another with kind words, hugs, smiles, and our time and energy. We are blessing many families and it feels amazing to be a part of Charleston Bilingual Academy.
The charity I choose to receive the $400 from this nomination is Closet of Hope. I have been educated by fellow CBA families that foster on how important it is to be a foster family or support the ones who are. Most people are unaware that the majority of children coming into foster care come with only the clothes on their backs. Services are 100% free to foster families and they have no paid staff members so this is truly a labor of love.”
2021 Kind Neighbor Nomination Winner: John Michael Stagliano
Congratulations to John Michael Stagliano for being selected as our 2020 Kind Neighbor Nomination Winner! John Michael was nominated for his work with Home Again, an organization John Michael founded after realizing the need for furniture and household items for people transitioning out of homelessness into their new homes.
In 2016, John Michael learned that the Lowcountry Home of Hope, a men’s homeless shelter, required financial help to keep the doors to the only homeless shelter in Summerville open. He was friendly with many shelter residents through his volunteer efforts with Katie’s Krops. This not-for-profit grows vegetable gardens and donates the harvest to feed people struggling with food insecurity, hunger, and homelessness. John Michael wanted to make sure the shelter could stay open. By hosting a car wash, he raised funds for the shelter. He gathered his friends, and within three hours, they raised $1,526.00 to help with the rent.
After donating, he became aware of some of the other roadblocks the shelter residents were facing. He began making regular meals for the men at the shelter, collecting items to support the shelter, and gathering Christmas gifts for the men so every resident had a giant sack of presents to open on Christmas morning. When men he was friendly with started moving out of the shelter, he learned most were beginning their new lives with nothing more than clothing. The shelter residents would work very hard to rent apartments, houses, and trailers to move out of the shelter but were unable to furnish their new homes. Home Again was born.
Reaching out to his family, friends, and neighbors, John Michael started to collect furnishings and household items for people transitioning out of homelessness. He wanted to provide these individuals with items needed to make a fresh start in their new homes. Word spread of his efforts, and donations started to pour in. Shady Oaks Storage donated a storage unit to him, and a second one quickly followed thanks to donations from supporters.
To date, John Michael has:
- Helped to furnish homes for 406 people transitioning out of homelessness.
- Prepared 1,000 meals for the men at a homeless shelter in Summerville.
- Raised $2,700 at Hope’s Table, a fundraiser he created to help build a new women’s shelter, Hope’s House.
- Raised $1,526 at a car wash to help pay the rent at the men’s shelter.
- Helped to reunite 36 families by furnishing homes for them, which allowed children to be reunited with their parents.
- Help the new women’s shelter open by providing all of the mattresses and bedding needed.
- Engaged over 80 kids in youth service, many of who have never been asked to volunteer before.
- Donate a pool table to a Veterans Home to provide entertainment.
John Michael works closely with the Veterans Administration and the Dorchester County Community Outreach. Over fifty percent of the individuals he assists are veterans. Donations of furniture are always much appreciated and needed.
In addition to his efforts helping the homeless John Michael is a junior at the University of Nebraska Online High School and takes classes at Trident Tech. He is an avid swimmer and resides with his family in Summerville.
A word from our winner: “I am very honored and excited to have been selected for the Kind Neighbor Nomination. Service to my community has been a huge part of my life since I was four years old. I appreciate that Adams & Bischoff recognize the importance of giving back to our community.
As part of the award for this nomination, I am excited to select Katie’s Krops as my charity of choice to receive the $400 donation. When I was four-years-old, my sister, Katie, grew a forty-pound cabbage in our backyard. She knew her cabbage was special and wanted to do something meaningful with it. Katie shared her cabbage with Tri Country Family Ministries, where it fed 375 people. At just nine-years-old, it set her down a path of service to grow a healthy end to hunger one vegetable garden at a time. In the past twelve years, she has made a huge impact on hunger across the country. She helped to guide me down a path of service and has been a wonderful role model not only for me, her younger brother, but for people everywhere. Without her, I don’t believe that I would be on the path I am today.
I am excited to continue to serve our community and help even more people be home again. Thank you to everyone who has supported my efforts. It is the most rewarding experience to know the difference you have made in someone’s life.”
Learn More About The Kind Neighbor Nomination
Adams & Bischoff, LLC started the Kind Neighbor Nomination to recognize individuals that have dedicated their time, energy, and resources to help their fellow neighbors during the COVID-19 pandemic. With so many people struggling due to the current situation, our firm wanted to show our gratitude to individuals that have worked to be a force for good in their communities. While we are only able to select one winner, we are pleased to have had so many excellent submissions for this nomination, and we want to encourage all of our nominees to continue working to make a difference in their communities.
To learn more about our nomination, click here.