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NORTHAMPTON — Friends of Children Inc. recently accepted a donation of over $7,500 to establish Katie’s Fund, a program established through a fundraiser spearheaded by Joe’s Pizza in honor of former employee Katie Lyons. Katie’s Fund will be used to provide essentials for children and young adults who are affected by foster care.

Katie’s Fund was created by Meaghan Sullivan, owner of Joe’s Pizza, who recalled that, “every time I spoke with Katie around the holidays, it seemed she was going to or coming from shopping for Christmas presents for the kids working with Friends of Children. Like much of Katie’s generosity, I took for granted the resources and energy she had devoted to this initiative. It’s humbling to be able to establish a fund in Katie’s name that helps a cause that meant so much to her.”

Sullivan hosted a Katie’s Fund fundraising event at Joe’s Pizza on the evening of Dec. 13, where 25% of all sales benefited the fund. Those sales, combined with private donations, have already added up to more than $7,500 to honor Katie, who passed away in January.

“Katie had a way of being there when you were most in need, whether it be a shoulder to cry on, some reassurance, or just a good old-fashioned laugh,” Sullivan said. “On the night of the fundraiser, it was heartwarming to see friends and loved ones be there for each other in Katie’s honor and to support Katie’s Fund. There was so much love and warmth in the room — her presence was certainly felt. We miss Katie so much, but I trust that her spirit of kindness and generosity will forever be with us.”

Friends of Children is dedicated to improving the lives of children and young adults impacted by foster care or juvenile-justice involvement. Katie’s Fund will be used to purchase essential items to support the children and young adults enrolled in Friends of Children’s programming. Click here to contribute to Katie’s Fund.