2014-11-28 / Front Page

Local teen makes a stand against hunger

Program recognized by Unilever, featured on television
By Peter Jasinski


Kylee McCumber and her organization, Kylee’s Kare Kits for Kidz, recently received a $10,000 grant from Unilever and were featured on “The Queen Latifah Show.” 
Peter Jasinski photo Kylee McCumber and her organization, Kylee’s Kare Kits for Kidz, recently received a $10,000 grant from Unilever and were featured on “The Queen Latifah Show.” Peter Jasinski photo “You don’t know what’s going to happen in the next day, or three months or a whole year down the road. There are these two girls who often speak with us about how one day their whole lives changed. They had been living an hour away from here and going to Catholic school and now they’re here and have been living for a year in a hotel room with their whole family,” said Leominster’s Kylee McCumber, founder of the nonprofit Kylee’s Kare Kits for Kidz. “They always say, and it’s something I say a lot now too, ‘You never know what tomorrow’s going to bring.’”

The harsh reality is that life can be unpredictable and the issue of hunger can affect people who would never expect it. For Kylee McCumber, this is a part of life she became familiar with at the age of 10 when she founded an organization to help supply some of her fellow classmates with food they were otherwise unable to obtain. Kylee’s organization has blossomed, gaining more than 30 supporters and assisting the needs of close to 200 Leominster residents.

Recently, the 13-year-old student at Sky View Middle School and her organization were recognized by the consumer goods company Unilever’s Project Sunlight, an effort to seek out young leaders all over the planet and supply them with some of the resources their causes need.

“We received a $10,000 grant from Unilever. It sounds like a lot of money, but when helping 200 kids a week at $750 a week it will only probably last two to three months,” explains Kylee. Though the sum will only manage to help for a short amount of time, Kylee stresses that every effort counts.

Her interactions with Unilever and their Project Sunlight also led to Kylee travelling to Mumbai, India to deliver a speech for an ad campaign that would draw awareness to her cause. In addition, Kylee was in Los Angeles last week for an interview with Queen Latifah on her daytime talk show.

“I had extremely bad nerves just going to India and there were only 20 people in the room I had to talk in front of. [On the talk show] I was the one sitting in the middle, so I was the one right next to Queen Latifah,” says Kylee. “It was fun, but there were still the nerves.”

The idea of children going hungry, or even world hunger for that matter, had only become an issue for Kylee when arriving at school one morning and seeing some of the other students eating breakfast there instead of at home. When asking her principal why this was happening, she was told that some kids were unable to eat at home because there wasn’t a lot of food there. Kylee next asked what she could do to help.

Now, just a few short years later, Kylee’s work covers not only food, but also clothing and furniture to displaced children and families in the Leominster area.

For someone who is in such a crucial stage of growing up, Kylee admits that her work has influenced the direction her future is headed in. Although she had originally wanted to be a teacher, Kylee now states, “I should be able to continue this into high school, and college, and hopefully afterwards. I don’t really know what I want to do anymore.”

To find out more about Kylee’s Kare Kits for Kidz, visit https://www.facebook.com/KyleesKareKitsForKidz.

Return to top