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Meet Katali­na: A KYC Superhero

Nine-year-old Katali­na knew when the pan­dem­ic hit, she want­ed to do some­thing to sup­port oth­ers. She brain­stormed with her mom, Lind­say, and decid­ed she specif­i­cal­ly want­ed to do some­thing for old­er adults who might be feel­ing lone­ly dur­ing iso­la­tion. I didn’t want them to feel sad!” shared Katalina.

Her imag­i­na­tion quick­ly took over. Katali­na has spent weeks col­lect­ing shoe box­es from neigh­bors and friends, hand dec­o­rat­ing each box with paint, draw­ings, con­struc­tion paper, stickers…anything she could find to trans­form each con­tain­er into a per­son­al­ized trea­sure chest. Katalina’s Crates quick­ly took off after her mom Lind­say shared her daughter’s idea online, with dona­tions of per­son­al care items, games, and knick-knacks pour­ing in from friends and fam­i­ly want­i­ng to sup­port Katalina’s kind idea. (She was even fea­tured on Windy City LIVE!)

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Stuffed with love and per­son­al art cre­ations, Katali­na brought more than 20 box­es to KYC for our old­er adults receiv­ing Home Deliv­ered Meals. She also includ­ed a self-addressed stamped enve­lope with each box, invit­ing recip­i­ents to become her pen pal – just anoth­er way she could pre­vent seniors from feel­ing alone.

With many camps closed and usu­al activ­i­ties with friends made more dif­fi­cult with COVID-19 social-dis­tance require­ments, KYC’s direc­tor of devel­op­ment and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, Kate Gar­barek, asked Katali­na what she planned to do with her sum­mer. With­out skip­ping a beat, Katali­na point­ed to the box­es she made and answered in a word: This!”

Since the begin­ning of the pan­dem­ic, Katali­na has made dozens of care pack­ages for both KYC and Hanover Town­ship in the hopes that old­er adults through­out the com­mu­ni­ty feel the sin­cere and deep care from a very spe­cial 8‑year-old. Katali­na also helped fundraise for KYC’s most suc­cess­ful fundrais­er in our his­to­ry, the Hus­tle for Health, which this year went vir­tu­al to keep par­tic­i­pants safe.

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Katalina and Michelle Johns, KYC's Home Delivered Meals Team Lead, pose with the Meals on Wheels truck that delivers approximately 600 meals three times a week during COVID-19. The Home Delivered Meals Program depends on dedicated volunteers who spend an hour at lunch-time delivering to home-bound seniors.

We are incred­i­bly proud and hon­ored that Katali­na would show this kind­ness to our old­er adults” said Gar­barek. She packed each box with love and has expect­ed noth­ing in return – she just want­ed to pre­vent any­one from feel­ing alone dur­ing these incred­i­bly dif­fi­cult times.”

Katalina’s mom Lind­say shared, Every day, Kat gets up and imme­di­ate­ly gets to work on her crates. She’s so pas­sion­ate about help­ing senior cit­i­zens and we’re so proud that she’s found this unique way to show she cares about peo­ple she’s nev­er met.”

Thank you, Katali­na and Lind­say, for being KYC Super­heroes. We’re proud and grate­ful for your part­ner­ship with KYC!

To fol­low in Katali­na’s foot­steps and sup­port KYC’s Old­er Adult Ser­vices, you can make a gift below.

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