By Cliff Clark, cclark @sentinelandenterprise.com
Updated: 07/12/2015 07:01:10 AM EDT0 Comments
LEOMINSTER -- For the approximately 85 families in transition that call the city's Days Inn home, Saturday afternoon's ice-cream social and barbecue organized by Kylee's Kare Kits for Kidz was a real treat.
"It's amazing. They're a great organization," said Karine Traverse, as she kept a close watch on her four children while they were running around the hotel grounds and enjoying hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream, free toys, clothing and activities such as face painting, glitter tattoos, and balloon twisting.
"Look, Mom, I got this just for you," said Aniyah Sorduff, 4, while handing a her mother, Destiny, a pink poodle made by the balloon artist who entertained the nearly 200 children with her creations.
Destiny, like Karine, was grateful for the afternoon of activities offered by Kylee's charitable organization. "It's just awesome that there is an organization that does things like this for families in need," said Destiny, who was cooling off under a shade tree, playing with her two other children and enjoying a hot dog.
Kylee McCumber, 13, was running around trying coordinate the more-than 30 volunteers who were helping with the event that she calls her favorite of the year. "I really love that we get to interact with the children and actually get to know them," said Kylee.
This was the second year the event was held by Kylee's Kare Kits, which offers children nutritious meals each week when school is in session.
When school is out during the summer, the organization provides meals twice a week to families at the hotel and Kylee learned last year that many rarely get a chance to eat meat or enjoy ice cream.
Last summer, she said, because they didn't have enough resources, the event was a day of activities and an ice-cream social.
This year, however, the group raised enough money to offer families grilled goodies.
In addition to lunch, sweets and fun, the organization offered, for free to the hotel's residents, gently-used clothing, new toys and personal hygiene products, which had been donated by Unilever.
Last year, Kylee was chosen by Unilever, a multinational company that sells consumer products, to star in a commercial highlighting the charitable efforts of several teenagers from around the country.
Kylee also pointed out the donation of watermelon and salads from Leominster's Our Lady of the Lake church.
Two volunteers on Saturday were beneficiaries of Kylee's efforts when they lived in the hotel during a difficult period in their family's life last year. Elizabeth, 15, and Monique Baxley, 13, traveled from their new home in Lawrence to "give it back." "It's great to see the kids' smiling faces and having fun," said Elizabeth as Monique looked on nodding in agreement. They understood what a difference Kylee's Kare Kits for Kidz can make. "I don't know how we would've made it without the Kare Kits," said Monique.
Days Inn manager Umesh Patel said Kylee's group is a "great asset to the community." "It's great to have caring people in Leominster who share their love by taking time to help," said Patel.
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