Ideas for making a difference often come from an inspiration, an "aha" moment.
Steve Weiner is an "aha" type of man. Weiner relocated to south Charlotte from New York with years of sales experience. At age 72, Weiner, who now lives in Raintree, isn't content to retire; he still has more to do.
His children are married, and he and his wife have seven grandchildren. He's been blessed with a healthy family.
That, says Weiner, was his impetus to give back.
Weiner's "aha" moment began after his sons built a wine shop - Vintner Wine Market - at the Arboretum shopping center. Weiner manages the shop, but it's not enough for an active man to keep busy. He's always looking for a way to give back, as a way of saying "thank you" for his blessings.
Shortly after the market opened, Weiner had his inspiration: "Use your change to raise money for the Levine Children's Hospital" at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, said Weiner.
That inspiration has worked better than Weiner ever dreamed, and he isn't the only one impressed: My "kids are amazed," he said.
Now, three years later, Weiner and other caring business people have collected nearly $16,000 to go toward children at the Levine Children's Hospital.
"One hundred percent of this money goes to help advance programs and services at Levine Children's Hospital and help thousands of hospitalized children and their families," said Mark Griffith, director of the Children's Miracle Network at the Carolinas HealthCare Foundation.
Weiner started out collecting change in a cookie jar; Carolina's HealthCare Foundation now provides plastic containers for collection.
Every month, Weiner takes the collected change to Charlotte Metro Credit Union, where an automated machine counts the money. A check is then made out and sent to the Levine Children's Hospital.
One of the attractions of the process is that anyone can help make a difference, according to Weiner.
"You don't have to have a lot of money to get involved," he said.
Stores including The Meat House, Carvels, The Q Shack, Lebo's Western Ware, Walker's Drug Store, Le Peep and more than 40 others participate in collecting change.
Eileen A. Schwartz is a freelance writer for South Charlotte News. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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