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From Lemonade/Cupcakes to “Blessing Bags”

Sisters Kalley and Mckenzie Kosiorowski raised more than $200 for charity from a lemonade stand.  McKenzie is a force, unselfishly helping others as the weather turns chilly and holidays approach, a challenging time for many.  Last week she, sister Kailey, and others prepared 150 “Blessing Bags” to give to the homeless, stuffed with food, snacks and other basics paid for with money they raised from a lemonade/cupcake stand they opened last summer at their Green Valley home. Last year they helped bag 200 lunches donated by their grandma Diana VanAlstine, helped collect blankets, gloves and jackets for the needy with friends and fellow members at the Sahuarita House of Worship.

This year, the sisters partnered with Sahuarita resident Danielle Burleson who regularly provides meals and other necessities for the homeless.  The lemonade stand came about last summer, VanAlstine said.  She is the step-mom to Green Valley firefighter Greg VanAlstine, who works with McKenzie’s dad, Joey Kosiorowski, Operations Chief for the Green Valley Fire District.  Using Wooden Crates, McKenzie’s specialty beverage and Kailey’s cupcakes, the stand was a great success. “It’s pretty inspiring for a 5-year-old to volunteer. She’s kind of shy but knows if she sells more, she can help more people,” VanAlstine said.  After distributing lunches and warm clothes to the homeless last year and seeing how they live firsthand, McKenzie was moved to do more.  ” I felt sorry for them (and) wanted to help people,” she said.  Seeing a lemonade stand on TV, figuring one of her own could help her achieve the goal, with Kailey’s cupcakes being the icing on the idea, the stand helped raise more funds and provide an activity the sisters could do together.  Soon their efforts will likely be part of a church slide show, perhaps providing a role model for others.