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Challenge Accepted: Heat Wave

Members of Holy Family 1, Chicago, Illinois, refused to let a heat wave prevent them from cleaning up their neighborhood.


“I feel good for nature and for God,” said Victoria Kazmierczak, age five, after spending a scorching Saturday afternoon with her family clearing trash and debris. With 80 percent humidity at 88 degrees, most people would decide that a family Feeding God’s Children (FGC) event could wait, but the Kazmierczaks: Joni, Jason, Anthony, Victoria, and John and Laurie [Jason’s parents], decided not to let the weather deter them from their plans to clean up a nature area near their home in Lake County, Illinois. On top of the heat wave, the ongoing pandemic means that many people have had to be creative to participate in service activities. As members of Holy Family 1, the Kazmierczak family had been searching for some way to do an FGC event. Luckily, Anthony’s Cub Scout troop hosted a virtual nature hike event that day as well, so the Kazmierczaks decided to combine events and have all three generations of their family participate in a socially distant and sweltering FGC.

Altogether, the family picked up an entire garbage bag of hot, heavy, stinky trash over a period of six hours. “For me, the most rewarding part was seeing my children [ages five and six] participate in their first FGC event and actually hear and see that they understand the impact of their actions,” said Joni. “It happened to be a very hot and humid day and children can easily get hot and cranky, but they did a fantastic job and pushed through!” She continued, “Anthony was very excited we all wore shirts that he helped design. A rewarding moment was when a stranger passed by and thanked the kids and encouraged them.”

Victoria and Anthony have newfound respect and appreciation for the earth. “We found something, and I don’t want to find it again!” said Victoria. “There was lots of trash clogging a drain and that was very bad.”

Her brother Anthony agreed. “It could flood!” he replied.

Even at such a young age, these children have already garnered so much from FGC; a concern for their civic system, a regard for the Earth, and a desire to do good for God!

Rising to the challenge, the Kazmierczaks proved that neither a pandemic nor a heat wave can stop them from serving their greater community. Everyone was rewarded with a large cold glass of water afterward. These new challenges have been no match for COF members, as they continue to find new ways to help those around them.

Article by Kaitlynrose Bicek

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