Braham girl donates to food shelf

By Rachel Kytonen

Pocket change in pants. That’s how Kaitlyn Dordal, a 12-year old from Braham, has collected nearly $1,500 for the Braham Food Shelf the past six years.

Kaitlyn Dordal, a seventh-grader at Braham High School, displays the $245 she collected in pocket change to benefit the Braham Food Shelf. Photos by Rachel Kytonen

On Thursday, March 29, Kaitlyn brought in her donations from the past year into Frandsen Bank & Trust in Braham to be counted and given to the Braham Food Shelf.

After the donations were counted by Joanie Becklin, a big smile came over the face of Kaitlyn when she learned another $245 has been raised this past year. The past five years, Kaitlyn had raised over $1,200.

With March designated Minnesota FoodShare Month, the Braham Food Shelf will be able to use Kaitlyn’s donation for matching fund opportunities.

Kaitlyn, who was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 4, but has been cancer-free for the past six years, has always been taught to appreciate what she’s been given.

“I’m doing this because I really want the kids who are hungry to not be hungry anymore,” Kaitlyn said. “If everyone would just collect the change from their pockets and purses throughout the year and donate it to a food shelf, we really could make a difference.”

Kaitlyn’s grandmother, Carol Dordal, explained when Kaitlyn was 5, they had a conversation about children going hungry.

“Kaitlyn was so sad when we talked about this, and felt so bad for the children,” Carol said. “I explained to her one option to help the children could be to collect change throughout the year, and at the end of each year give it to a food shelf.”

Kaitlyn Dordal pours the money into a bucket that will be counted by Joanie Becklin, from Frandsen Bank & Trust in Braham.

Donna Golly, from the Braham Food Shelf, said the need continues to grow, and greatly appreciates Kaitlyn’s donations the past six years.

“Our need is so great,” Donna said. “We just had 26 clients in the office today. Monetary donations and non-perishable food items are always appreciated.”

Besides collecting pocket change, Kaitlyn will also keep money given to her throughout the year and donate it to the food shelf.

Last year, Kaitlyn was honored as a “Hero in the Making,” by Second Harvest Heartland. Because of this honor, she received a free ticket to a Minnesota Timberwolves game and was recognized during the game along with the other “Heroes in the Making.”

“Kaitlyn is my adopted granddaughter and I just love her to death,” Donna said. “I worried about her when she was sick, and am so happy she is doing better. I admire her whole-heartedly.”

Kaitlyn, the daughter of Joe Dordal and Angie Morris, challenges other kids to start collecting pocket change for the food shelves.

“People say one person can make a difference and I believe that,” Kaitlyn said. “It takes just one person to start collecting pocket change to make a difference in the fight against hunger.”