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"Being a Women of Worth means joining an incredible group of empowering women and working even harder to provide homes in my community with basic necessities."
In 2008, the recession created a massive economic downturn in Cassandra Lin’s community. Many families could not afford to heat their homes in the winter, and charities were running out of funds. At just ten years old, Cassandra began encouraging her neighbors to recycle their used oil so it could be repurposed to heat their homes. Her idea evolved into Project Turn Grease Into Fuel, developed as part of the Westerly Innovations Network, and spread throughout the community. Since then, Cassandra and her team helped introduce and pass a Used Cooking Oil Recycling Act in the state of Rhode Island, which requires all businesses to recycle their waste oil.
Westerly Innovations Network is a nonprofit organization that uses innovative ideas to solve community problems. Its recent project, Turn Grease Into Fuel (TGIF), is a sustainable system that collects used cooking oil from residents and restaurants, coverts it to biodiesel, and distributes the biofuel to local families for emergency heating assistance. Since its inception in 2008, more than 250,000 gallons of grease have been recycled into more than 200,000 gallons of biodiesel fuel, which have helped heat the homes of more than 500 families.