He and his mother will deliver the carts next week, on the anniversary of his father's death.
"If they have a board game it will take their minds off it," Kalen said. "It would be better for them to read a book or play a board game (than worry)."
Stephanie Smith, Kalen's teacher, is organizing the drive. Teachers and an outside donor funded the purchase of three carts from Office Max at a discounted price of $120, and Rubbermaid donated one for free. Nicholasville Elementary students and staff are filling the carts with Boggle, Uno, Connect Four and more. A third-grader, an East Middle student and their mother, are donating to the cause in honor of the children's father, who died in February.
The idea came to Kalen while his class was reading outside in the grass earlier this school year. Smith said she asked her students what kids could do to make a difference in the world, and while most of the kids came up with small-scale ideas, Kalen's plan astounded her. He turned it into a persuasive piece for his writing portfolio.
"For these kids, portfolios are such a huge part of their year," she said. "It helps if they can see how what they're going to do now will last and be meaningful. For Kalen, things he writes down this year about his father - those are memories he will have forever."
He also wrote a poem about life before and after his father's death, which Smith included in the letter Kalen wrote to the hospital asking them to participate. Phone calls to Saint Joseph Hospital were not returned before press time.
Even though the poem was hard to write, he said it was "just better to get it out."
"I was taking the dictation, and I was crying while I was writing," Smith said. "The way you know someone's a writer is when they touch the heart of the person who reads their work. I told Kalen his poem would touch the heart of anyone who reads it."
Nicholasville Elementary fifth-grade teacher Michelle Roberts' two-year-old daughter, Erin, spent two nights at Saint Joseph, and Roberts said she could've used the game cart.
"There really wasn't much for her to do," Roberts said. "The nurses were bringing things from home (for her to do), calling other people to bring things in, and making balloons out of latex gloves."
She said the carts will help kids like her daughter relieve their anxieties while at the hospital.
"I think it will take their mind off of what's going on, and their relative that's ill," she said.
Once Saint Joseph Hospital is stocked with game carts, Smith said Kalen, whose favorite games are Monopoly and checkers, hopes to expand his effort to other local hospitals.
"If you already donated something, thank you very much," Kalen said. "If you're thinking about donating, it would be a very nice choice if you did, because you would be helping somebody in need."
Donations can be made at Nicholasville Elementary School, 414 W. Maple St. in Nicholasville.