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8-year-old wants to serve the community, looks to Kiwanis club for help

Steven Hadt | Aug 28, 2017

8-year-old wants to serve the community, looks to Kiwanis club for help
Gabe Keezer wanted to collect 3,000 pounds of food and toiletries to help people in need. But the 8-year-old Pennsylvania boy didn't know how. So he turned to the people he knew could help—the Wyoming Area Kiwanis Club. 

Gabe has grown up with the Kiwanis club. His mom was in Kiwanis and the club meets at the family's restaurant. But there wasn't a discussion about hunger or homelessness that sparked the idea. Gabe says it just popped into his head one day. 

8-year-old wants to serve the community, looks to Kiwanis club for help "He's such a great kid to think of other people," said club secretary Tiffany Callaio. "We clean parks, highways and volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House. We had never done anything like this." 

The 62-member club rallied behind the project. After consulting with Gabe, they decided to spend a day canvassing the community—going door-to-door to pick up donations. The club started spreading the message on social media. Members reached out to the two Builders Clubs and the Key Club they sponsor. Those clubs joined in too. Soon, reporters at the local newspaper and television stations were calling.

"Social media is a huge thing," Callaio said. "We just got the word out and found others who wanted to help. The message just spread." 

There was now an army of people working toward Gabe's goal of collecting 3,000 pounds of supplies for people in need. On the July collection day, the team spread out through the neighborhoods of Exeter and brought back corn, green beans and toothpaste. Hamburger Helper, rice and razors were stacked in piles. A pallet of bottled water was delivered to the collection point. The room was filled to the ceiling with boxes and bags. 

8-year-old wants to serve the community, looks to Kiwanis club for help In all, Gabe and the Kiwanis club collected more than 5,000 pounds of food, water and toiletries. The supplies went to homeless shelters, a center for woman fleeing domestic violence and a food pantry. The effort was so successful, the club decided to do it again next year. 

"Ever since he was a little kid, Gabe saw the good things our club was doing," Callaio said. "You can see how our work is branching off and influencing the kids." 

For this idea that just popped into Gabe's head, the club gave him and his sister a certificate of appreciation. But he got much more—the joy of being a servant leader. 





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