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!)
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.
“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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