This month, we are SO proud to feature this interview with the incredible Lara family from Montgomery County, MD. Karina and her husband Mario are parents to Mario and Rukmani, and this amazing family have been some of our strongest supporters since the beginning! We are so deeply grateful for all of their help and enthusiasm, from volunteering with us on Saturdays with kit assembly, to purchasing items from our Amazon Charity List! Read more about their work below.
Kits to Heart: What made you interested in volunteering for Kits to Heart?
Karina Willis-Lara: A few years ago, when we discovered Kits to Heart on the Montgomery County Volunteer Center website, we immediately had a sincere connection to this organization, because we could relate to the importance of supporting cancer patients and their families. We understand firsthand the impact volunteers have on people dealing with treatment and management of cancer. While we were supporting an immediate family member in the hospital, a volunteer came to the hospital room and gave us handmade crochet scarves. During that challenging time, these scarves symbolized that there are kind people in this world and hope, love, and strength will always be with us. I can also remember our family member eating ginger chews to help with nausea. Within the Kits to Heart kits, ginger chews are included. When we researched Kits to Heart online, we found Sonia’s website. After we read about her organization and how we had this sincere connection, we knew we wanted to volunteer! Supporting patients and families by providing a free kit, containing caring gifts, puts a smile on their faces, reduces stress, and lets them know that we care about them.
What is the most special part for you when it comes to volunteering for Kits to Heart?
KWL: It is impossible to identify the most special part of volunteering for Kits to Heart! For our family, there are so many special parts. The kits that Sonia’s organization provide have thoughtful and practical gifts that help the patient and their families. The kits also symbolize that Kits to Heart and people, like us, wish these impacted individuals’ strength, courage, love, and hope. At home, as a family, we have enjoyed making journals, care bear towels, and handmade cards. We have also purchased items from the Kits to Heart Amazon Charity List, which is super convenient because the items are shipping directly to Sonia. Assembling these kits with Sonia has also been impactful, because we are working together and Sonia exemplifies her commitment to others—which, in turn, motivates us to rally around Kits to Heart! Also, our family enjoys packaging items within the kits while in an assembly line and counting and seeing the number of kits assembled during the session!
KTH: What is a characteristic that you believe is essential for Kits to Heart volunteers?
KWL: We believe that humility is a key characteristic about being a Kits to Heart volunteer. When we put others first and contribute, either financially or volunteering, to such an impactful organization, we are doing our best to be considerate of others by creating a meaningful impact on others dealing with difficulties associated with cancer treatment and the management of cancer.
KTH: What would you say to someone interested in volunteering for Kits to Heart?
KWL: Volunteering for Kits to Heart is fulfilling because you contribute to making an immediate and positive impact on cancer patients and their families. There are many ways to volunteer, from ordering from the Kits to Heart Amazon Charity List, giving a donation, making handmade items, volunteering at an awareness event to volunteering for assembling the kits. For us, volunteering as a family has been fun, and together, we are growing in our will to give back to others who need hope, love, and strength.
Thank you so very much, Karina and family!
Interested in volunteering to help bring smiles and solidarity to those affected by cancer? Browse our volunteer opportunities and get started today!