KITS WITH KINDNESS
Kits With Kindness was originally founded in April 2020 by Zach LaGuardia, in a time now known as the early days of the worldwide pandemic caused by the Coronavirus. LaGuardia noticed that there were people living in the streets that were forgotten and in need, so he took it upon himself to purchase items and piece together hygiene kits which included water and snacks.
Seeing that the need was greater than he anticipated, LaGuardia took to Facebook and created a ‘Kits With Kindness’ forum. Through Facebook, Zach was able to bring together likeminded, caring people who also sought to help those less fortunate in their community. A grassroots effort ensued, as the group would gather in backyard’s to piece together the kits.
The movement evolved as more people joined the organization. The group focused on packing, distribution and fundraising while servicing cities, parks and downtown areas including Riverside, Colton, Redlands and Fontana, supplying up to 250 kits each month to those overlooked by society.
Robert Trujillo of Colton California, an educator and member of Kits With Kindness since June 2020, took over the helm as President and CEO in October 2021. Trujillo took action and initiative early on in his role. Trujillo reduced cost and labor hours for the organization by securing a larger location in which to pack kits in preparation for distribution.
“My purpose in life is to be useful to the world that I and others live in.”
Trujillo is a professional educator and avid animal lover who sought to further serve his community in joining Kits With Kindness and has been instrumental in the furthering of the organization. Trujillo created kits to provide to animals owned by the less fortunate. “Many people on the streets rely on the support of furry friend’s. For some without family and friends, their animals are all the support and love that they have in their life.”
For the last several years Kits With Kindness has participated in blanket drives, distributing up to 200 blankets to those in need. KWK has also given away over 500 toys in conjunction with the ‘Toys For Tots’ organization.
Kits With Kindness has collaborated with other nonprofit organizations including Faith, Hope & Change in Colton and Second Mile Ministries in Corona, producing joint efforts to serve the same demographic.
Hamburger Mary’s restaurant in Ontario, California regularly hosts “Big Queen Bingo” to raise funds to support KFK’s efforts in the community.
Since their inception, the nonprofit has secured multiple grants from the City of Riverside as well as the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints.
Kits With Kindness was honored as a ‘Non-Profit of the Year’ top 10 finalist in 2021 by California Assemblywoman of the 50th District of California.
The organization seeks to remain making a positive impact on communities with fundraising, distribution and packing of essentials to be provided to those in need.
Trujillo, along with the dedicated, caring group of individuals which comprise the foundation, as well as continued collaboration with other nonprofit organizations and those who contribute to keeping the organization running, seeks to further the organizations endeavors.
“We will continue on our mission to serve communities across the Inland Empire with assistance from our volunteers, donors and sponsors, who assist us with spreading, love, joy and kindness to those less fortunate.”
Author: Raymundo Dioses
"Kits With Kindness was formed in April 2020, as I was looking to make a difference in the Inland Empire community."
The idea originally was to purchase 50 bottles of sunscreen and distribute to members of the Inland Empire homeless community, as I knew that summer would bring temperatures upwards of 100 degrees. When I went to purchase the sunscreen bottles, I could not help but start to see items that I knew would be of use to homeless members as well. Before I knew it, I had purchased enough food and hygiene products to create 50 kits for the month of April. In addition to the purchased goods, I wanted to inspire hope to the recipients of the kits, so I wrote 50 handwritten notes to be included.
About 10 days after I delivered all 50 kits throughout Riverside, while driving on the side of the 91 freeway, I noticed a man digging through his kit and eating food from the Ziplock bag I had previously delivered. This man, 10 days after receiving the kit, was still using the kit as his lifeline for his daily activities. This is the moment when a gesture and idea turned in to an initiative to invoke change.
I knew that if I bonded together like-minded, kind-hearted individuals who wanted to do good in our community, the impact could be immense. That is when I started recruiting members through various Facebook channels and by spreading the word throughout the community. After the initial 50 kits were delivered, every month since April 2020, a minimum of 150 kits have been delivered throughout the Inland Empire to homeless members.
In June 2020 the idea to add feminine products to our kits was suggested by one of our members, which prompted KWK to create “female only” bags. In addition to what is typically included in the kits, the female-only bags consist of tampons or liners, nail filings and Chapstick.
In August 2020 the idea to create “Pet Kits With Kindness” was brought forth by our members. Since August, we have delivered nearly 100 pet kits filled with food, accessories and toys to our furry friends throughout the Inland Empire as well.
In total, over 1000 Kits With Kindness have been delivered to date. Kits With Kindness continues to run as a grassroots operation, utilizing the generosity and kindness of over 380 members to assemble, pack, and deliver kits throughout Southern California. We operate by the idea that “Kindness costs nothing, but can be worth so much”.
On behalf of the entire KWK team, we are so grateful for your interest in helping our brothers and sisters in need. You have made the conscious decision to be kind, and we look forward to making a difference together.
How It works
Through the generosity of each of Kits With Kindness members, both monetary and supply donations are sent to the KWK Leadership Team by the 10th of each month.
Monetary donations are used to purchase remaining items that have not been donated, but are needed to provide basic necessities for our recipients each month.
Supplies are then compiled and packed by members of Kits with Kindness on the designated date assigned by KWK leadership that month (typically around the 15th of each month)
Packed kits are then assigned to KWK deliverers who transport kits to those in need. Deliverers converse with recipients and present them with their kits.
Recommended Items include, but are not limited to:
- Reusable Masks
- Disposable Masks
- Water Bottles
- Hand Sanitizer
- Granola/Chewy Bars
- Ziplock bags
- Feminine Products
- Kleenex Packets
- Fruit Snacks
- Handwritten Cards – (Must be handwritten with encouraging and uplifting words)
- Fruit Cups
- Fresh Fruit (purchased right before packing date)
- Cleansing Wipes
- Nail clippers
- Shoe laces
- Bug repellant