WYCKOFF, N.J. – Mari Keating Schofield of Wyckoff has long had a special place in her heart for the people of Camden, New Jersey.
Particularly the less fortunate, who live only about 100 miles away from her.
“It just hit home for me," Schofield said, recalling the documentary that drew her attention to the problem about a decade ago.
"Here I am in Wyckoff, in a warm house, and they are talking about the statistics which they make every year – violence, homeless people, all that."
The Ridgewood native recently launched a new project to benefit the less privileged people in Camden called Pearls for Peace.
Schofield creates and sells simple necklaces, then donates a percentage of each sale to Cure4Camden, an organization that conducts outreach programs and focuses on solutions to ending gun violence in the city.
The necklaces come in all different colors and are made of “minuscule glass seed beads with one or two pearls in the middle,” the jeweler explained.
They are just her latest way to give back to a cause she cares so much about.
When Schofield owned a brick and mortar jewelry shop in Midland Park for six years, she and her husband used the location to collect thousands of pounds of toiletries to donate to a Camden homeless shelter — the only one in the city where she says women are able to shower.
“It was so touching," Schofield said. "I would come to the door and there would be bags of toiletries. Or people would call me and knock on the back door, and what they would do is push in a huge box."
Schofield closed her Winnie and Belle shop on Godwin Avenue about two years ago, and now sells her jewelry online. She purchases many of the components of her pieces from impoverished start-up companies all over the world, she said.
“I believe in hope,” Schofield said. “I am not giving up on my Camden neighbors.”
For more information on Pearls for Peace, visit Winnie and Belle Shop on Facebook , or follow the shop on Instagram at @winnieandbelle . Those interesting in purchasing a necklace can email Schofield at email@example.com.
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