Since the pandemic, Stephen and Dr. Susan Bonilla had been looking for ways to give back but weren’t sure how.
As the owners of Passionate Paws Animal Hospital in Waxhaw, they enjoy sponsoring community events, but those have been canceled. Hosting a food drive or collecting toilet paper provided logistical and safety challenges while giving away masks didn’t seem like enough.
So when Stephen saw an email from Common Heart asking if the hospital would sponsor the Love in Action fall fundraiser, he looked at his wife and said, “we really need to do this. This is what we’ve been looking for.”
This year’s Love in Action fundraiser is virtual at LoveinAction.CommonHeart.org and will include an online video premiere on Oct. 23.
Passionate Paws is joining The Moser Group, an Indian Trail-based commercial real estate firm, in kicking off the annual fundraising campaign by each donating at the top $5,000 level.
This support will help purchase a refrigerated truck to pick up and deliver much-needed groceries for local families in need. The fall fundraiser will also support the new facilities opening this fall in Marshville, which includes a food pantry, warehouse and program office space. Business sponsors have raised $14,700 toward the campaign’s $50,000 goal.
So far this year, Common Heart has provided food to 14,686 people – almost double the number served in all of 2019, Executive Director Keith Adams said.
“This community has stepped up, volunteered and donated food and funds so nearly 50% of the estimated 30,000 food insecure individuals in Union County and surrounding areas have received the basic necessity of food,” Adams said. “The expansion into Marshville will mobilize more volunteers in more locations, serving more families.”
The work in the Marshville area is key to serving more families. Of the 460 students at Marshville Elementary School, 446 of them qualify for free or reduced lunches. At neighboring Wingate Elementary School, only six students of the 565 students do not qualify for free or reduced lunch, Adams said.
“These are startling statistics which show us that a huge majority of kids in the eastern Union County area are part of a food insecure family,” Adams said. “The uncertainty and inconsistency of school schedules make this an even larger problem.”
The Love in Action campaign will help sustain the expansion and work toward the goal if ending generational poverty in Union County.
“With this donation we’re going to make a lasting impact,” Stephen Bonilla of Passionate Paws said. “I know the food is important, but it goes fast. This truck is much more permanent, something that looks at the big picture of helping our community end the cycle of poverty.”
Similar thoughts moved Dennis Moser, of The Moser Group, to sponsor Common Heart, according to Moser spokeswoman Abby Martin.
“Dennis Moser is a very, very giving person. The Moser Group is a company that’s always giving back to the community he cares about,” she said. “It’s a troubling time for everyone right now, but thankfully we’re staying busy. Because of us being so blessed, it’s important to give back and bless others, especially during this pandemic.”
Want to help?
Donations from the public are needed to reach the $50,000 goal. To donate visit LoveinAction.CommonHeart.org or mail a check (payable to Common Heart), to: PO Box 2761, Indian Trail, NC 28079. Businesses or churches interested in a sponsorship should email Kara.Lopp@CommonHeart.org or call 704-218-9060.