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McHenry teen finds time for giving back

Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

McHENRY – During the small cracks of time that appear in a packed schedule of softball practice and history homework, Katelyn Sena is making a difference.

A 16-year-old junior at McHenry West High School, Sena was looking to put time in as a volunteer at the FISH of McHenry Food Pantry, but the times the pantry was requesting help didn’t line up with her schedule. Sena decided instead to start her own mini-drive, passing out fliers at school, practice and church, and going door-to-door in her neighborhood to ask for donations.

Sena has collected about 500 food and small household items in two weeks, and is expecting more by the time she brings the canned fruits and vegetables of her labor to the pantry Thursday.

“I’ve only been going out for like an hour or so on weeknights or weekends, and I’ve been getting a lot of stuff from that,” Sena said. “It doesn’t take a lot of time to make something big happen.”

Sena’s school and community have been supportive of her efforts, she said. A teacher donated her classroom to store the items from the drive, and many people have donated straight from their cupboards during Sena’s door-to-door trips.

“There’s a lot of good intentions in our neighborhood and our community,” said Catherine Sena, Katelyn’s mom. “People are willing to help; it just takes that instigator to get it started, and then everyone kind of falls in line.”

Katelyn Sena hopes her efforts inspire other time-strapped individuals to realize they can do something that matters while staying afloat with other daily responsibilities.

Her mom is hoping the same. She’s been blown away by what her daughter has accomplished in such little time.

“Very proud mom moment,” Catherine Sena said. “I’ve honestly been amazed at what she’s been able to get done.”

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