Jaree Hefner moonlights as a jewelry maker, stamping missives on metal and donating a 10th of profits.
She customizes the donations as well as the jewelry, giving to military charities, care packages for soldiers, oil rig family support charities and public school projects. In fact, making donations can be just as challenging as making jewelry.
“I like to see the money get straight into the hands of those who need it,” said Hefner, who works days as a communications specialist for League City.
She researches where to give 10 percent of sales, and often follows customer requests.
“Rather than tithing to a church, I wanted to use it to pay it forward, and use it for projects in the community, or projects with different organizations, or with military or first responders,” said Hefner, whose faith guides the giveback on her business.
“Every time it’s come back tenfold.”
For her creative work slotting donations and support to a variety of charitable causes, Hefner has been named a 2013 Everyday Hero. She joins others selected by The Galveston County Daily News recently honored at a reception.
Hefner’s story starts with her parents, both engineers, who taught her web design, a work ethic and how to run a business from home. She has worked for League City for five years, on the city website, videos and social media.
Then last year, the mother of two started Stamped and Strung, a homespun effort to produce inexpensive customized jewelry. Using precut metal shapes, stamp sets, a hammer, brushes and jewelry accessories, she stamps messages and names onto the metal, working at the bench built for her by her husband, David, a Houston firefighter, part-time medic in Santa Fe and a member of the Army Reserve.
The first week, she made $250, and slotted the tithe to a local volunteer fire station. The next week, sales doubled and business has boomed ever since. Her sister, Shelby Taylor, and friend Susan Balli help behind the scenes.
“If you bless and give with an open heart, God will always come back and bless you for it,” Hefner said.