Kernels of Kindness™
Celebrating those who bring joy, happiness and kindness to their communities.

Thank you to everyone who nominated an individual or organization for Kernels of Kindness! We received 6,620 nominations, and it’s inspiring to see all the good popping up nationwide. After careful review, 100 winners were selected based on their unique and significant contributions to their communities.

Each winner will receive a JOLLY TIME prize pack and $1,000 to help continue the work they’re doing. Once a week for 10 weeks, 10 new grant recipients will be profiled here until all 100 are revealed.

Congratulations, winners and nominees! It’s an honor to celebrate your continued accomplishments.

Week Two Kernels of Kindness Winners

Mitchie Curran
Mitchie Curran

Las Vegas Chef uses her culinary talents to bake and decorate themed cakes for critically ill children.

 
Chef Mitchie Curran of Las Vegas, Nevada uses her culinary talents to bring smiles to critically ill and underprivileged children. As part of the Icing Smiles program, Mitchie bakes and decorates custom cakes for critically ill children and their family members. She researches what the child is passionate about (superheroes, firefighters, Disney, etc.) and makes a one-of-a-kind experience incorporating their favorite things.
Laura Daugherty
Laura Daugherty

Since 1887, Charitable Union volunteers collect & distribute free clothing for people in need.

This year the staff and volunteers like Laura Daugherty are going to take new school outfits (shirt, pant or skirt, underwear and socks) to the area schools. The staff and volunteers will pull racks of new clothing into the school gym at each location and allow families the opportunity to choose a new outfit for each qualifying child. 

Charitable Union started in 1887 when a group of ladies saw children skipping school. After questioning the kids, they found that there were embarrassed about their clothing. The women gathered clothing from friends and neighbors and gave school outfits to the children. Believing that a solid education would help these families journey out of poverty. Fast forward 127 years and CU still serves the community in exactly the same way. 

Kathy Edman
Kathy Edman

Mercy Chefs heads into disaster zones and provides quality meals for as long as needed.

Kathy Edman and Mercy Chefs travel to emergency locations such as tornados, plant explosions and hurricanes to fill the physical need for food, the emotional need of comfort and the spiritual need of hope. Mercy Chef's does all they can, reaches all they can and fills as many needs as they can. 

Matt Even
Matt Even

St. Louis, Missouri man teaches community members sustainable, organic gardening techniques.

 
Matt Even of Hazelwood, Montana has dedicated much of his time and energy to Gateway Greening, an organization that educates and empowers people to strengthen their communities through gardening and urban agriculture. He teaches garden groups, homeless and other community members from all walks of life sustainable, organic gardening techniques.
Robert Haveles
Robert Haveles
Robert Haveles dedicates his time and energy to better this small town community.
 
Robert negotiated the purchase of an old church and established an IRS approved non-profit entity PHCC, Inc.  Together Mr. Haveles along with the other volunteer board of director members have re-purposed the church  in Three Rivers, a village of Palmer, into the Palmer Historical and Cultural Center for the community and the region offering live performances, lectures, special events and celebrations. 
 
Mr. Haveles for years has donated his time and efforts to better the small community of Palmer, Massachusetts.  He started an organization named "Palmer Events Planning" which has for the last several years taken over the sponsoring and planning of a town event formerly known as Nostalgia Day and this year has re-branded and titled it  "Celebrate Palmer" so that all the citizens of Palmer and other communities can come together for a day of fun.  It is a yearly event that many look forward to.  Haveles has also organized an annual event called "Pick Up Palmer" day when volunteers in the community help to beautify the small town.  This is held the weekend before Memorial Day to have pride for Palmer and in respect and to honor those who have served this country.   
 
 
 
Matthew Kaplan
Matthew Kaplan

When his brother became the victim of cyber-bullying, he decided to do something about it. 

He created Be ONE: The Be Open To New Experiences Project. Be ONE is a peer-to-peer community-building program for middle schoolers. Through games, team-buidling activities and guided discussions, Be ONE empowers students to be positive role models and to celebrate their similarities rather than tear each other down because of their differences. 
 
Haley Kirkpatrick
Haley Kirkpatrick

Young mother who gave her child up for adoption organizes Birth Parent meet ups to offer support.

 
Haley Kirkpatrick became a young mother at the tender age of 15. Knowing she couldn't provide the life her daughter deserved, she chose to give her up for adoption. Nine years later, Haley educates and supports birth parents, adoptive parents and children of adoption through her Facebook page, website and Birth Parent meetups.
Colleen Kisel
Colleen Kisel

This mom believes that kids being treated for cancer should receive a gift prior to each painful treatment. 

As a result of her experiences as the mother of a cancer patient, in August of 1996, Colleen formed the Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation.

The Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation supports more than 9,000 children and teens monthly through in-kind donations from community toy drives, a variety of fundraising events and/or personal donations of toys. One-third of the children undergoing cancer treatments are teenagers. Realizing that toys were not appropriate for these older patients, The Treasure Chest Foundation began furnishing gift cards from a variety of merchants and fast food restaurants to the teens. 
Joe and Mary Lander
Joe and Mary Lander

The Landers tragically lost their two children, Amy and Jake, in two separate car accidents.   

For the last 10 years, In honor of their children, Joe and Mary host an annual softball tournament to raise money for civic projects from baseball fields and scoreboards to fire departments and county fairs. Thus far, over $60,000 has been raised. 

 
Leigh Wattenbarger
Leigh Wattenbarger

A full time college student volunteers at her old elementary school.

Leigh has always been involved in music. She was broken hearted when the music program was cut at her old elementary school. So now she volunteers her time and talents to 4th and 5th graders. There is no budget for music, practice cd's or performance travels. The kids love singing! They love learning about music, theater and they love performing! 

The First 10 Kernels of Kindness Winners 

Robin Davis
Robin Davis

Mother of autistic son quits job & creates summer camp and after school program for kids with autism.

 
Robin gave up her job to help her autistic son, and many others, be accepted for who they are through an organization called Richmond Autism Integratoin Network (RAIN). She has since developed an after school program for autistic children and a summer camp for the all kids, called Free2BMe.
Tamye Haugen-Walsh
Tamye Haugen-Walsh
Tamye Haugen-Walsh brings community together and helps hundreds with a Facebook page.
 
Tamye Haugen created a Facebook page intended to allow people to express their feelings and connect those that need help with those that want to help. In less than a year, hundreds of people have helped or been helped in many ways, including Christmas gifts for 300 area children, school supplies and clothes for needy children, prom dresses for 100 girls and many more.
Linn Krafjack
Linn Krafjack

Wisconsin woman devotes her life to making and sending care packages to deployed soldiers.

 
When she learned that many service members sometimes wait up to three months to receive basic care items, Linn Krafjack of southern Wisconsin decided to do something about it. She devoted her life to thanking our military by creating Operation Ooh-Rah to provide 40-pound care packages to deployed U.S. troops.
Demagio Mansell
Demagio Mansell

Florida college student gives his own time & money to donate backpacks of school supplies to needy children.

 
To motivate today's youth to stay in school and strive for success, Demagio Mansell, student at Florida Atlantic University began the "Back Pack Program as a freshman in 2011 to provide back packs full of school suplies for less fortunate children in the West Palm Beach area. Thus far, with his own money and items he has collected, Demagio has given hundreds of backpacks to deserving children.
Michael McCowen
Michael McCowen

Brennan's Buddies visits families of newly diagnosed pediatric cancer patients. 

Brennan's Buddies is a lifeline for many families of newly diagnosed pediatric patients. Volunteers of this non-profit visit families in hospitals when they are in need of support, company and hope as their child is fighting cancer. 
Kimberly Patton
Kimberly Patton

Heal with a Horse gives children with life-threatening illnesses a safe haven with horses. 

 
Kimberly Patton created Heal with a Horse two years ago in hopes of helping children with life-threatening illnesses a chance to learn how to ride and take care of horses. This equine therapy program has helped many kids not only improve their mental and physical health, but also improve their self-esteem, social skills and overall happiness.
Kelly Stack
Kelly Stack

These professionally trained dogs are vital in improving independence, self-esteem and quality of life.

 
Canine Angels Service Team gives assistance dogs to kids and young adults with physical and developmental disabilities to help promote independence and a higher quality of life.
 
 
Gary Weitzen
Gary Weitzen

Gary has brought joy to thousands of families of kids with autism by providing free activities.

 
For more than ten years, Gary Weitzen from New Jersey has made it possible for thousands of children to enjoy bowling, surfing, horseback riding, swimming, gymnastics and more through an organization called Parents of Autistic Children (POAC). During these activities, families can bond and children with autism can learn social and communication skills that most people are born with.
Mindy Williams
Mindy Williams

Grandmother of autistic boy raises money to build a sensory room at school.

 
When her grandson was diagnosed with autism, Mindy Willams decided to do what she could to support families that have with kids with autism. From starting a Facebook support group to fundraising for a sensory room at school, Mindy has been a strong advocate for the autism community in Centralia, IL.
Kendra Witt-Doyle
Kendra Witt-Doyle

Idaho woman uses empty land from Blue Cross of Idaho to create a "giving garden". 

 
Kendra Witt-Doyle started the Giving Garden after convincing her employer to allow her to grow organic produce for area food banks and food pantries on the company's unused land. After the first year, nearly 50 volunteers tended the community Giving Garden and cultivated more than 1,000 pounds of produce for people in need. Now in its second year, the program is thriving with even more volunteers, including people who have been recipients of donated food.