This story is taken from Milwaukee Magazine‘s 2019 Charitable Giving Guide. We found 20 deserving nonprofits for you to consider supporting this holiday season.
In June 2019, a very young crew — six 2-year olds and three 5-year-olds, plus their parents and older siblings — got their hands dirty planting marigolds in tomato beds at the Maglio Companies building in Glendale. Eventually those tomatoes were delivered to the Riverwest Food Pantry.
The young gardeners were working with Kids Impact Community (formerly Toddlers and Kids on a Mission), which partners with nonprofits to create community service projects for youngsters.
“Kids have little hands but big hearts,” says Lynn Raines, executive director, who founded the organization in 2013 with another stay-at-home mom, Jean Heffernan. The two, who met at a Whitefish Bay library playgroup for their daughters, realized that there were few volunteer opportunities for kids under the age of 14. So they started cold-calling agencies, offering help.
Today, the volunteer-run organization undertakes about 90 missions per year, free to participants. They range from serving monthly dinners at the Saint Vincent DePaul meal program to having playgroups with the elderly to packing hygiene bags for the homeless.
“Kids are constantly seeking solutions to big problems,” Raines says. “Our obligation is to provide those opportunities.”