MINIsMD receives National Recognition
Prudential Spirit of Community Awards 2011
2011 State Honoree
Jessica Scales, 18, of Westerly, R.I., a senior at Westerly High School, helped develop a nonprofit organization that mobilizes Mini Cooper car owners in the Northeast to collect and transport toys for terminally ill children in an annual “toy run,” and also has assisted food pantries, victims of natural disasters, and others. Jessica’s family founded a charity called “MINI’s-Making-A-Difference” (MINIsMD) in 2003, after Jessica and her father came up with the idea of holding a toy drive for terminally ill children sponsored by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. “Although any type of transportation could have been used to move the toys throughout the state, the Mini Cooper brought significance to the event,” said Jessica. “Mini Cooper owners are a tightknit group of people who give their time for charities throughout the United States and Europe.” More than 40 Mini Cooper owners collected toys and donations for the first “toy run,” and then drove to the Rhode Island Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation to deliver them.
Since then, the annual toy run has grown every year collecting more than 10,125 toys and numerous cash donations. “MINIsMD brings hope to those who need it most,” said Jessica. “I love watching families smile and laugh during difficult times.”
Jessica in conjunction with the Other Tiger Bookstore of Westerly, R.I. donated 75 new books for a volunteer reading program for elementary school children in the Metro D.C. area during the National Awards program sponsored by Prudential.