Birthday drive-by collecting donations for St. Philip Neri food pantry

Thanks to the generosity of children, more than 1,150 pounds of food was donated to help the St. Philip Neri food pantry. (Courtesy Lynn Kozushko)

Need some good news? Grace and Faith Kozushko have you covered.

The Kozushko family, parishioners of St. Philip Neri in Linthicum, were not able to plan traditional birthday parties for their girls this year due to COVID-19, but there was something better in store for them and their community.

The girls had recently participated in a car parade, and thought that it would be a fun alternative to a party. They were also aware that many families were suffering due to the pandemic, and they were determined to help. Grace and Faith insisted that participants in their birthday parade should bring food donations that would be delivered to the St. Philip Neri Food Pantry instead of birthday presents!

News of their selfless act spread on social media, and it was picked up by a WUSA9 News. Grace’s birthday drive-by in May was a huge success, and 1153 pounds of food were donated in three hours!

There’s still time to participate and to help these girls help their community. Faith’s birthday drive-by is this Sunday, June 7, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. You can drop off donations at 24 Eugenia Ave, Glen Burnie MD. Be sure to honk and wish Faith a happy birthday.

It might seem unbelievable that two girls would want to forego birthday gifts, but it’s not a surprise for those who know the Kozushko family.

Before getting married, I lived with Harley, the girls’ father, and he had an open-door policy. Anyone who needed a dinner or place to crash for the night was welcome. It took me some time to get used to the steady flow of visitors. I was a little worried when I heard Harley was getting married. What would his wife think about his generosity? Well, Lynn, his wife, has a heart to match.

It is no surprise than this couple raised their girls to be empathetic, thoughtful and generous. Grace has faced a lot of challenges in her life thus far. She has had 14 surgeries for a rare bone disease. She also is autistic and has a sensory processing disorder. Faith has been an amazing and supportive sister.

Given this difficult road, it would be justifiable for the family to focus only on its challenges. Instead, Harley, Lynn and the girls have organized ways to give back to the girls’ teachers, medical professionals and other hospitalized children. It makes sense than that when the girls heard about the virus, they thought of others first.

I am honored to be Faith’s godfather, but the roles have been reversed these past few weeks. She has been the one teaching me how to be a good Christian.



Hanael Bianchi

Hanael Bianchi

Hanael Bianchi is a history professor at a community college in Maryland. He earned his doctorate in modern British history from the Catholic University of America and his master’s degree in modern German history from the University of Connecticut. He is a proud father and husband and author of the Catholic Review's "Fertile Soil" blog.