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Cultivate Kindness in Honor of McKenzi Loid



STORY BY EMILY ROBERTSON

What if you could have the goal of spreading kindness and happiness to every child in Warren County? That is the life mission of Robin Loid and her daughter, Emily Wilkins, and they are accomplishing it with their organization, #CultivateKindness.

The pair started their passion project honor of their daughter and sister, McKenzi Loid who was tragically killed in a car accident in 2017. They decided to carry on her legacy of kindness and selflessness in a truly unique and magical way.

“We came up with the name of our organization after seeing McKenzi’s screensaver “Cultivate Kindness, Proverbs 3:3” on her cell phone while we were in the hospital after the accident,” Wilkins said. “Cultivate Kindness was essentially McKenzi’s life motto. McKenzi radiated joy and spread kindness in many ways, from homeless hygiene kits she carried in her car to simple and meaningful “thinking of you” texts to a friend in need.”

Cultivate Kindness was originally created as a way to provide funds for scholarships in honor of McKenzi, but the pair soon decided that the organization could be used in a very different way. CK now provides birthday boxes with party supplies for children and teens in Warren County who may not have had any other way to celebrate their birthdays, as well as Thanksgiving baskets full of celebration items and food for families in need. The group also throws an annual special needs event, called “Be the Light Prom” for teens and adults in the area.

Wilkins says the organization is funded by a combination of individual donations, sales of Cultivate Kindness merchandise and various fundraisers throughout the year, including an annual “Pretty Little Things” fundraising tea party at the Charleston every spring. Cultivate Kindness also has created a 10 on10 monthly fundraiser, where supporters are asked to donate $10 on the 10th of each month.

While Wilkins and Loid are the only staff, Cultivate Kindness is able to serve between 10 to 20 families a month with birthday boxes full of party supplies. For the Be The Light event, Cultivate Kindness will usually utilize the help of around 30 volunteers and Wilkins says that the non-profit is always looking for more people to be involved.

“We are looking for volunteers with a God-driven and loving heart to help others,” Wilkins says.

“Most volunteer needs are directed to our prom but we are always welcome for help in organizing our party supplies and putting together boxes!

As our organization grows, we hope to have specific small group volunteers to help with certain tasks throughout the year.”

Cultivate Kindness is already in the process of growing their mission, with a new program called “Kenzi’s Cupcakes.” Now, local teachers can request cupcakes for students in their classroom who may not be able to provide cupcakes for their class to celebrate their birthday, but even bigger plans may be on the horizon. Loid and Wilkins hope to one day have an in-house birthday party facility with a store-front area where parents and guardians can come “shop” for their own child or teen’s party decorations and supplies, further continuing their goal of honoring McKenzi and her legacy.

“In grief, you can become overwhelmed with sadness and anger, but it is possible to transform your energy into something positive,” Wilkins says. “That is what we are doing here in our community in Warren County.”

For more information, or to donate to Cultivate Kindness, go to www.cultivatekindnessllc.com or check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cultivatekindnessllc.

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