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Meet Kenan Pala of Kids4Community

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kenan Pala.

Kenan, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
It all started one early morning in Torrey Pines. I was running on the beach with my dad when we came across a sick baby seal. We had noticed that people were surrounding the seal. They were giving the seal blankets, calling animal shelters and notifying park rangers. However, on the way back home from Torrey Pines, my dad and I saw a sick, homeless person on the side of the road. However, instead of helping the man, people just ignored him, treating him like he was invisible.

After seeing this and taking some time to reflect, I concluded that something needed to be done, we needed to raise awareness of the growing problem called homeless. Time went by, and I decided to break a Guinness World Record for the largest cardboard box mosaic to help gather food and raise awareness for homelessness. Breaking a Guinness World Record was chosen because it is an international company and if we broke a Guinness World Record we would raise awareness for homelessness on a national level.

Around a year and a half later, we broke the Guinness World Record and donated around 7000 cereal boxes to homeless people around San Diego. After breaking the record (October 2016), I didn’t want to stop and wanted to continue what I started in helping end homelessness and hunger, as well as help getting kids involved in the community. From there, I began Kids4Community in January of 2017, and today we have over 300 volunteers helping us end hunger, end homelessness, and improve disaster-struck areas across the world.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
When I first started Kids4Community, I found it very hard to get volunteers to come to our events. This was because we were a new nonprofit that people did not know about and therefore there was not a lot of trust in Kids4Community. Thankfully, the community engagement director at my school Francis Parker Middle School.

Mr. Kevin Dunn, helped us get our first volunteers (someone of which still volunteer at Kids4Community today). We also found it hard to find and create volunteering events that are open to all ages. There are types of events that you can only do with older volunteers, so when we started, we found it very hard to create events that anyone of any age can volunteer at. However, after a couple of months, we had some set volunteering events that anyone of any age can volunteer at.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Kids4Community – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Kids4Community is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that helps kids help the community, helps end hunger and helps end homelessness and disaster-struck areas. Something Kids4Community is most proud of is how many areas of the community we are impacting. Kids now have an easier time volunteering and are working to end homelessness and hunger. Most nonprofits just work to end a specific cause such as homelessness or hunger and often don’t allow young kids to help them with their mission.

However, Kids4Community not only has a mission to end specific problems but also allows kids to help us stop these problems. As I saw during the Guinness World Record project when I assembled a team of kids and friends, if a kid is dedicated they can sometimes be the best volunteer, and I have continuously seen kids be the best type of volunteer.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
⅓ of the world’s food is wasted, and 1 in 7 people are hungry. We have the food we need to end hunger, but because of poor management, we lose that food. This is why Kids4Community is looking to help re-purpose and send some of this wasted food to nonprofits who need it and can use it to feed those who are hungry. Imagine this, a website where stores and that sort can post their food on and then wait for nonprofits to claim the food and arrange a time to pick up the food.

Then, the nonprofit picks up the food and now has that food for their clients. This is what we are looking to do. This would work because nonprofits have some food restrictions to prevent undercooked or bad food from coming to the nonprofit but if the nonprofit claims the food and picks it up with their trusted volunteers, the nonprofit controls what goes on and therefore can participate in this.

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