From fending off foreclosures to championing women, helping people is Brick woman’s mission

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Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton is pleased to honor Elaine Molen of Brick as our Light of Hope of Ocean County.

Elaine MolenProfessionally and personally, Elaine Molen has always worked to help people in need. Decades ago, when the Ocean County native discovered that her county didn’t send a contestant to the Miss New Jersey and Miss America pageants, she immediately set out to right that oversight, creating a scholarship program that’s part of what is now the largest scholarship program for women in the world.

As a Realtor, she grew increasingly alarmed as the banks booted more and more people from their homes during the Great Recession almost 15 years ago. So she became a federally certified housing counselor who dedicated her days to helping people avoid foreclosure.

“That entailed helping people with their credit, negotiating with the banks and doing mortgage modifications,” she said. “That can be complicated and requires so much paperwork that a lot of people can’t do it themselves.”

She and her colleagues were so busy that even former President George Bush took note, visiting the housing counselors and people facing foreclosure in to better understand the problem. She remembers the President noticing a photo of her daughter on her desk.

“He recognized his own daughter in it!” Elaine said of the photo, in which the President’s daughter smiled alongside Elaine’s daughter (they were acquaintances). “We had a good laugh.”

Now retired, Elaine still works on behalf of people in need. She has been a devoted volunteer on Catholic Charities’ Ocean County Board and the Guardian Angel Dinner Dance planning committee, helping to solicit donations and organize collections for our Ocean County programs. She’s also a donor and briefly worked on Catholic Charities’ Development and Marketing team as the Events Coordinator. In her capacity as a Realtor, she helped the Family Growth Program find and secure a new location in Ocean Township a few years ago.

And she still occasionally does housing counseling now, a need she expects will grow over the coming year.

“As we look at what’s going on today with the economic fallout from the pandemic, I see that we could be facing some of the same challenges going forward,” she said.

Getting honored as a Light of Hope is deeply rewarding, she said.

“It’s all the volunteers who deserve this award,” Elaine said of the nearly 1,200 volunteers who served Catholic Charities in various capacities last year. “We can’t do this without their service.”

Elaine has three children and four grandchildren. She is a Sacristan and Eucharistic minister at St. Catharine Church in Spring Lake. She enjoys walking on the beach.

Celebrate with us!

Elaine Molen will be honored during Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton’s Guardian Angel Benefit of Hope on Thursday, September 9th. It’s free to tune in! Register today here.

For more information about or to support the Guardian Angel Benefit of Hope, contact Jennifer Leip at jleip@cctrenton.org.

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