Cadets Donate Over 4,000 Pounds of Food to the Georgia Mountain Food Bank
Christian E. Mims
On November 15th, Riverside Military Academy (RMA) Cadets donated to the Georgia Mountain Food Bank in Gainesville, GA. RMA’s student body is 95% boarding and yet collected an impressive amount of food with 6,015 cans (4,290 pounds) in just three weeks.
Georgia Mountain Food Bank serves 5 local counties and is part of the larger Feed America Federal Food Assistance Program. Steve Mueller, Operations Director of the Georgia Mountain Food Bank, explained that 1 in 4 children are food insecure. He said that the items most needed are dry shelf stable products. “When the [RMA] team brought in over 4,000 pounds of that type of product, it was a God-send. It really will help us through this season.”
One 7th grade student from Atlanta, Gio Thomazinio, donated cans in lieu of receiving his own Christmas presents. Gio did not know that his mother told the academy of his request to donate the cans. Thomazini exemplifies the characteristics that the academy instills into its young men. At an academy assembly Gio was surprised and recognized for his selflessness in front of his peers. He also received a Challenge Coin from the Academy Sergeant Major, Sgt Maj Sosa. The coin presentation is a tradition in the United States Military to recognize a special achievement by a member.
According to his mother, Alex Thomazini, Gio had donated his present money two other times.
“When he was 5 years old, we visited a shelter in Salt Lake City [Utah] to donate hand warmers. He has been passionate about helping those in need ever since,” she said.
Thomazini was recognized for his selflessness with a Sgt Maj Challenge Coin presented to him by the Academy Sergeant Major, Sgt Maj Sosa (pictured).
RMA’s Parent Relations Coordinator, Pam Baker, said, “Cadet Thomazini not only had his parents donate canned goods to our GA Mountain Foodbank Canned Food Drive, but he did it emphatically and excitedly.”
The canned food drive is just the beginning for RMA students. They have begun collecting gifts for the annual Toys for Tots program. The program is run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve which distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas. The school invites community donations which can be left in the lobby of Lanier Hall on the RMA campus until December 20th.