We are thrilled to share that Kaine Gonzales has earned the title of “Katie’s Krops Volunteer of the Year” for 2020 for his dedication to the Katie’s Krops mission. Kaine has worked in more of the organization’s gardens in Summerville, South Carolina, than any other volunteer. Additionally, he has helped to prepare hundreds of Katie’s Krops garden-to-table meals. Kaine’s enthusiasm and desire to learn are truly contagious.
During his two and a half years of volunteering, Kaine found he enjoys gardening, seeing things grow, and being out in nature. He also finds that helping others is rewarding and he appreciates being able to do so through a well-organized group with friendly people. There was both a lot of work involved and fun times, including the vast, sweet potato harvest with one as big as a kid’s head.
Kaine is not the only one in his family who volunteers with Katie’s Krops, Sister Anaya, seven, and brother Manny, five, also helped with tasks such as picking ripe produce and planting seeds. At the same time, his parents provided that all necessary support and transportation. When his parents were not available to give rides to the garden workdays, Kaine was not detoured. He reached out to neighbors to find the lift he needed to help Katie’s Krops grow,
Kaine and his family moved to San Antonio, Texas, in the summer of 2020 due to a new duty posting for his Air Force father. To say that we, as an organization, were heartbroken to see Kaine move is an understatement. We are thrilled to share that Katie is now starting a Katie’s Krops garden in his new home state!
It’s an ambitious effort for a 14-year-old. Still, Kaine will have help, first from his father and neighbor, who will help him build raised garden beds. The entire family will help with planting, weeding, and nurturing the garden until the produce is ready to be harvested. Kaine will share his harvest with a church pantry. Long-distance support and garden advice will come from his maternal grandparents, who farm ten acres in Louisiana. The family sometimes travels to help with planting items such as potatoes, which is a good task for kids who like to dig and play in the dirt.
“Kaine’s enthusiasm for gardening and helping others is second to none. He arrived at every volunteer opportunity with a smile on his face and eager to take on any task. I love how executing the job at hand was never enough for Kaine. He wanted to learn what to do and why. Educating himself was always at the forefront of his efforts. I am so excited that he is taking what he learned in our South Carolina gardens and starting a Katie’s Krops garden in his new home of Texas,” Katie’s Krops President Stacy Stagliano shared.
Kaine has earned this well-deserved honor, including the trophy and $500 scholarship that accompanies it.