CLIFTON, NJ -- TAPintoTV spoke with Michelle Graham Shines at the 11th Annual Mustard Seed Gala to learn more about the Mustard Seed Community in the Dominican Republic. Shines, the director of international programs at Mustard Seed Communities, shared the history, mission and vision of the organization, which supports orphaned children with both physical and mental disabilities.

Mustard Seed Communities is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to caring for the most vulnerable populations throughout the developing world. Hogar Immanuel, in Cangrejos, Dominican Republic, is home to 48 children with very high needs and disabilities.

“We care for children with disabilities that are abandoned,” said Shines. “We care for them in every aspect,” she said. “They are our kids. We are responsible for them.”

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“Unfortunately, in the Dominican Republic, there is little to no government support at all for disabled children,” said Cy Yannarelli, founding member, Mustard Seed Children/DR. The country also suffers from high poverty rates, and it is very difficult, if not impossible, for most families to properly care for a child with severe disabilities.

Funds from the gala, both ticket sales and any donations received, goes to meet the needs of the disabled children living at Hogar Immanuel. “Every cent goes to Mustard Seed and every cent is used toward the care of the children,” said Shines.

“There’s an amazing set of people here in New Jersey from all walks of life,” Shines added. “We are very grateful for their help.”

For more information about Mustard Seed, and to learn how you can support the organization, visit

Mustard Seed Communities is a client of East Main Media, the parent company of TAPintoTV. is a member of the New Jersey Press Association and is a hyperlocal news site that serves residents, organizations and business owners of Denville, New Jersey.

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