Loyola 8th grader distributing baskets of winter essentials to Mankato’s homeless

Loyola 8th grader distributing baskets of winter essentials to Mankato’s homeless

EAGLE LAKE, Minn. (KEYC) — A Loyola eighth grader saw a need in his community, and with the help of others, he’s bringing Christmas joy to those who need it most.

“We went to Connections [Ministry], I was volunteering there. I saw this homeless guy walk in. He had no gloves on and he was trying to warm his hands up with hot water and I asked mom if we could get him some gloves,” said Chase Kijenski.

Chase is an eighth grader at Loyola Catholic School with a big idea and an even bigger heart.

“I just had this idea that we could fundraise for them, for their Christmas, because they said they are trying to fundraise and get some donations, and they need all these supplies. And we said ‘yeah, we can help,’” explained Chase.

They spread the word through the community and online. Now, dozens of winter essentials lie under the family’s Christmas tree.

“We’ve got some pairs of gloves, and a lot of wool socks.”

Waiting to be placed in gift baskets and distributed at Connections Ministry in Mankato. Those close to Chase know giving back is even more meaningful than what meets the eye.

“Chase lost his father, he was actually only seven months old. And for this kiddo to go through everything that he has, and to come out on the other side now and understand there’s more people who have problems, and have it worse than I do. For him to see that and then just to see his compassionate side. It just warms my heart,” stated Carrie Kijenski, Chase’s mom.

Carrie was blown away by the response from others.

”He’s going to remember this forever. It’s touched not just our family but so many in the community.”

For those going through dark times, Chase hopes to make the holidays a little brighter.

“Yeah, they should have a good Christmas.”

If you’d like to help in Chase’s efforts, donations can be sent via Venmo to @carrie-kijenski.

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