When Allison Kanyetzny approached her 10th birthday, she decided she wanted to celebrate by giving away gifts rather than receiving them. She had no idea at the time that the project she decided to title “Allie’s Wish” would later inspire a charitable project and inform her life’s mission of helping others in need.
A native of Anoka, Minnesota, Kanyetzny grew up with lots of love and support from her large family. With her birthday falling between Thanksgiving and Christmas, she was never short on fun, gifts or attention -- so by the time she reached the age of 10, she didn’t feel like she needed anything.
In lieu of drafting a birthday wish list, she began researching local organizations that could receive donations from her party. After selecting Sharing and Caring Hands as her recipient, Kanyetzny requested that all family members and friends send toys, toiletries and new and used clothing to her so she could donate them to the homeless shelter in Minneapolis.
By the end of her birthday weekend, the project she titled “Allie’s Wish” had collected more than 27 boxes of donations. When she dropped them off at Sharing and Caring Hands with her family, Kanyetzny met founder Mary Jo Copeland -- and the people she was about to help with her donations.