“I really don’t like talking about myself,” says Kacey Morabito-Grean. Despite the fact that she has been the co-host of WHUD’s popular Mike and Kacey in the Morning show for nearly 22 years, she prefers to keep a relatively low profile and let her work speak for itself.
It is, by any measure, an impressive body of work. In addition to her radio career, Kacey is a life coach, motivational speaker, podcast host, and founder of the Let it Shine Foundation, which operates a food pantry, thrift boutique, and farmer’s market in Verplanck.
The story of Let it Shine — whose name is inspired by the chorus of John Lennon’s “Instant Karma” — begins 12 years ago, when Kacey returned to work after attending a weekend event held by Oprah Winfrey. Energized and inspired, she approached her Program Director about hosting a show focusing on women’s spiritual, physical, and emotional wellness.
“I came back with an attitude,” says Kacey, who recalls telling her boss, “I want to talk about the things women want to talk about.”
Soon she was hosting “Shine On: The Health and Happiness Show,” which has aired Sunday mornings on WHUD since 2009. The show has been spun off into a podcast with over 600 episodes to date, featuring conversations with guests like political activist Marianne Williamson, Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert, and psychotherapist Thomas Moore.
For more on Kacey, visit kaceysplace.com and listen to her interview on our RiverTalk podcast by scanning the QR code or visiting cms.megaphone.fm/channel/rivertalk. To find out more about Let it Shine, Pantry at the Museum, Let it Shine Again Thrift Boutique, and Market on the River, visit letitshineonline.com.
Kacey’s desire to inspire and support women led her to create two online communities, A Circle of Women and A Circle of Prayer. The Facebook groups, founded in 2015, boast over 1,500 members.
“If somebody’s having a bad day, they can say, ‘I’m having a bad day,’ and then you just watch 500 women jump on and give them their best advice, or their support, or just ‘I’m here for you,’ says Kacey. “To see how strangers support each other and pep each other up and care for each other – it’s just so beautiful.”
Eventually, Kacey decided to channel the energy of her online communities into something that could make a real difference. On a clear, cold December day in 2018, while walking through the woods, inspiration struck – with the help of her network of friends and family, she would open a food pantry in the town where she grew up.
“We’ve got doctors and lawyers and every other thing in this circle of ours,” she remembers thinking, “What can we actually do to help?”
That very day, Kacey secured a location in the basement of Verplanck’s Mount Carmel Hall. She put out a call to “fill the pantry,” which was met with an overwhelming response.
What followed was a series of what Kacey calls “happy accidents.” The Town of Cortlandt offered the group a building to use for their work, which just so happened to include space for another project they were considering – a thrift shop to offset the costs of the pantry.
Kacey officially founded the Let it Shine Foundation in March 2020, and soon inspiration struck again. The pantry, which was serving approximately 125 families a week at the height of Covid, would host a farmers market at a baseball field adjacent to their location.
“I just wanted people to get out of the house, and I wanted the people we served at the pantry to have a reason to go outside,” says Kacey. “It took off.”
The following year, the town offered Let it Shine a space to operate at the Cortlandt Waterfront Park. The “Market on the River” is looking forward to its second season in the new location.
Although the ever-humble Morabito-Grean is hesitant to take credit for her many accomplishments, (“I didn’t set out to do any of these things,” she says. “Honestly.”) she does offer some tips for success that have worked for her … Ask for what you want. Surround yourself with a community that inspires and supports you. And, above all, don’t be afraid to fail.
“Radio makes you humble, and teaches you how to fail with grace, so I was fearless,” says Kacey. “When you have that attitude, nothing’s a failure.”
Christian Larson, who lives in Peekskill, is Editor-at-Large of River Journal North, and host of its podcast RiverTalk. He is also an event planner > capngoodtimes.com.