Local youngster takes job of helping less fortunate to heart

Published 3:14 pm Monday, August 4, 2014

Anyone meeting 9-year-old Kana Knight for the first time sees a shy but energetic child whose biggest wish is to help those less fortunate.

That’s quite an undertaking for anyone, but especially a 9-year-old.

Kana Knight is the daughter of Thomas and Joanie Knight of Bogalusa. Kana said a visit her parents and she made to a charitable organization got her interested in helping the hungry.

“When I was 6, I went to the Food Bank, and they told me I was too young to volunteer,” Kana said. “They said I could do a food drive. That made me happy.”

Kana helped generate approximately 200 food items during her first food drive.

Kana is currently the Miss Heart of Freedom’s Mississippi spokesmodel, a title she recently won in competition at Hattiesburg, Miss.

Kana competed in the Miss Queen of Hearts Beauty and Scholarship Program Pageant Saturday, Aug. 2, in Luling, La. That pageant is a preliminary qualifier for the 2015 Miss Heart of the USA Louisiana State Pageant.

“A friend of mine turned me on to a pageant called the Miss Heart of the USA. Ciera Nitkowski is the national director and started these pageants originally because a person she knew ran a food bank in Florida, but it was closing because of a lack of food,” Joanie Knight said.

Kana rolled up her sleeves to help the troubled food bank. She collected more than 2,000 food items for the food bank in five weeks.

“When people heard what she did for that food bank, people from all over the country called her to help them with their food banks,” Joanie Knight said. “That was five years ago.”

Kana will also be competing in the Mississippi State Pageant in Biloxi, Miss., on Aug. 22. All contestants are required to bring 10 to 25 food items to every pageant in which they compete. The young lady who brings the most food items receives the title of Miss Queen of Hearts.

“When Kana started out, she started out trying to get Queen of Hearts. A couple of weeks into it, she wasn’t worried about (winning) titles but wanted to get the most food she could, “ Joanie Knight said.

Competing in pageants isn’t the only way Kana has raised awareness for the needy. She recently donated 11 inches of her hair to Locks of Love.

“That was something she had always wanted to do, so we supported her in that,” her mother said.

Kana will be a fourth-grader at Northshore Charter School this school year. Kana said she would like to be a physician one day and would also like to compete in the Miss USA Pageant.

Until then, however, she is content making a difference locally.

“I’m just trying to help hungry kids in the community,” Kana said. “It’s fun to help the community. I like it.”