JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – Melissa Michalik carries around a picture of her cousin Kimmy.
“I truly believe that the world lost a beautiful soul,” said Michalik.
In November, the 43-year-old mother of three passed away from complications with Covid-19. For Melissa, the picture is a constant reminder of the bond they shared.
“She was amazing, always there to lend a hand, support, she adored her children,” said Michalik.
They are memories Michalik carries with her and a legacy she now wants to pass on.
“I wanted to do something in her memory and her honor.”
That something is called Kimmy’s Kidz. The goal? To be a source of comfort for children when they lose a parent. This includes everything from counseling to just being there to listen.
“If they need a ride to basketball practice, if they need help with summer clothes or school clothes or school supplies we want to be there for them,” said Michalik.
The group is also working to serve directly in schools. Michalik recently helped completely erase the lunch debt at Napoleon high school, debt the school takes on to make sure every kid can eat whether or not they can afford it.
“When I found out that the high school was the only one that had a lunch debt, it reached me personally,” said Michalik.
For students like Gracie Morgan, she says the help is coming at the right time.
“I think it’s important because during the Covid pandemic, we all had free lunches school-wide and that was kind of taken away because we didn’t qualify anymore.”
Michalik says she knows her cousin would be proud knowing her memory of giving back is still moving forward.
“She one would be touched that anybody would feel like her life was that important that she touched somebody so deeply that they want to do something in her memory to keep her alive and in her honor.”
It’s a grassroots mission that she says is just getting started. For ways you can get involved, the group’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org