Harlequin Honors Six Outstanding Women for Charitable Contributions That Enhance Their Communities
More Than Words, Volume 5, a series of inspirational short stories, produced to celebrate extraordinary women
TORONTO, March 31 /PRNewswire/ — Harlequin Enterprises Limited, a leading global publisher of women’s fiction, honors remarkable women with its annual More Than Words award and anthology. Five of Harlequin’s most acclaimed authors have donated their time and creativity to produce the fifth edition of More Than Words, a collection of short stories inspired by the real-life experiences of six women whose creative and selfless acts of charity have enhanced their communities.
Harlequin presented the recipients with a $10,000 donation in support of their respective organizations.
Harlequin sponsors the More Than Words program to raise awareness about how individuals can make a difference in their communities and turn that awareness into action. The program also hopes to inspire readers to get involved and give back themselves.
“Harlequin is a longtime supporter of women’s causes and we are proud to continue this tradition through the Harlequin More Than Words program,” says Donna Hayes, Publisher and CEO, Harlequin Enterprises. “Established in 2004 as our main philanthropic initiative, the More Than Words program remains dedicated to celebrating and rewarding women who make extraordinary contributions to their community.”
Contributing to this year’s collection of short stories are bestselling authors Heather Graham, Candace Camp, Stephanie Bond, Brenda Jackson and Tara Taylor Quinn. Proceeds from the book will be reinvested in the Harlequin More Than Words program.
Harlequin chose six outstanding women who represent a broad variety of women’s causes. From providing shelter and services to homeless women and children to advocating on behalf of children with severe asthma, this year’s recipients all have one thing in common — they have created not-for-profit organizations that significantly improve their communities and touch millions of lives.
Joan Clayton and Ina Andre, founders of Windfall, a charity that last year processed over 265,000 pieces of donated new clothing valued at over $10 million retail. From their 8,000-square-foot warehouse, Windfall services 90 agencies with everything from children’s backpacks and snowsuits to men’s and women’s business suits and T-shirts. Now in their late seventies, Joan and Ina, through Windfall and Second Harvest (a charity the two women founded to redistribute food) have touched the lives of over one million people in Toronto.
Johanna Kandel, founder of The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness. At 21, Johanna, a victim of eating disorders, gave up graduate school to found the Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness, a grassroots effort to help spread awareness about eating disorders and the positive effects of healthy body image. In the past eight years, over 100,000 students, parents and health professionals have heard Johanna’s story.
Ten million women and one million men suffer from anorexia. The West Palm Beach native also points out that there is a shocking trend toward anorexia in middle-aged women and that the disease is up 40% in men.
Erin Puck founded Toys.Calm in Silver City, New Jersey, at the age of 12 while undergoing radiation and chemotherapy for a malignant brain tumor. She understood that children in hospital were scared, tired and bored and needed to play and cuddle. Today, with the help of Erin’s family and a few volunteers, Toys.Calm has delivered over 75,000 toys and more than 125 laptops to hospitals such as Robert Wood Johnson, Jersey Shore Medical and Monmouth Medical, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and New York Presbyterian Hospital. Currently Erin is studying political science at Villanova University in Pennsylvania.
At once charming and determined, energetic and blunt, abrasive and funny, Sandra Ramos of New Jersey founded North America’s first shelter for battered women in 1970. For almost 40 years Sandra has done whatever it takes to help beaten, bruised and broken women find dignity, grace and safety away from the perpetrators of the abuse. Her grassroots, community-based nonprofit called Strengthen Our Sisters is now a high-quality 177-bed shelter program with seven shelters, a computer school where women can upgrade their skills, two thrift stores, a day-care center and car donation program. She no longer receives a salary, but volunteers about 60 hours a week.
With one woman physically assaulted in her home every 15 seconds in the United States and nearly six million women battered in a single year, Strengthen Our Sisters has its work cut out for it. Yet thousands of women have found, and continue to find, not only a sanctuary of safety, but also a place to rebuild self-confidence.
Nancy Sander founded the Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics in Fairfax, Virginia, in response to her daughter’s battle with severe asthma and allergies. The AANMA is now an international network of families determined to overcome asthma and allergies rather than simply cope with them. Thirteen staff members and 70 outreach service coordinator volunteers offer support and practical strategies to patients and families in the US and Canada, while publishing monthly award-winning newsletters, magazines, books and other educational material. Above all, Nancy and the AANMA give hope to parents who thought they would have to struggle with their children’s illness alone.
Information on donations or volunteering time with the organizations highlighted in this year’s program is available at www.HarlequinMoreThanWords.com. [http://www.eharlequin.com/store.html?cid=536]
Readers are also encouraged to submit nominations for next year’s More Than Words award at www.HarlequinMoreThanWords.com.
Harlequin Enterprises Limited is the global leader in series romance and one of the world’s leading publishers of women’s fiction, with titles issued worldwide in 29 languages and sold in 107 international markets. The company produces more than 120 titles monthly and publishes more than 1,200 authors from around the world. Harlequin Enterprises Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Torstar Corporation, a broadly based media company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TS.B). Harlequin’s Web site is located at www.eHarlequin.com. Harlequin has offices in 19 countries, including offices in Toronto, New York and London. For more information please visit www.eHarlequin.com or press.eHarlequin.com.